Bryan vs. Brian

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:46 AM ET

It's safe to say former Leaf and current Panthers defenceman Bryan McCabe doesn't miss the turmoil around the team in Toronto, especially as the trade deadline nears. That said, McCabe had an interesting anecdote regarding Leafs general manager Brian Burke.

McCabe briefly landed in Burke's bad books when he played in Vancouver and Burke was the Canucks general manager.

"I had the not-so-good luck of holding out one year with him as the GM," McCabe said with a laugh yesterday. "Some things were said in the media that were pretty harsh, but he knows what he's doing.

"He's a good man and a good hockey man."

McCabe has been a nice fit with the Panthers, contributing 12 power-play points (five goals and seven assists) prior to last night and being a positive influence in the dressing room.

"He has been consistent all over the ice," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. "We knew he was going to give us a presence on the power play but what I didn't know was how good he would be defensively.

"He's a vocal guy who always comes in with a smile on his face. We've got a quiet group but he brings some energy every day which is important."

VAN RYN ON IR

As expected, hard-luck Leafs defenceman Mike Van Ryn was not in the lineup after suffering a lower-body injury Saturday night in Montreal.

Though the injury might not be as bad as originally feared, an MRI taken Monday revealed enough for the team to take a cautious approach. Van Ryn was hoping to face his former team for the first time.

"He won't play (last night) or (tomorrow), that's all I can say," Leafs coach Ron Wilson said.

In Van Ryn's place, Marlies callup Jaime Sifers was in the lineup.

LOOSE LEAFS

With 19 goals prior to last night's game, Jason Blake is a near lock to hit 20 on the season, a rare feat for high-scoring Leafs acquired either by trade or free agency. Of the 50 Leafs since 1990 who had scored 20 goals or more with their previous team, Blake would become just the 13th to repeat it as a Leaf ... The sparse crowd at the BankAtlantic Center had some between-periods entertainment from legendary boxing promoter Don King, who is hyping a big boxing card being held there on Saturday. Waving Canadian and American flags, King made his way around the arena much of the night ... Prior to last night, the Panthers had earned points in 12 of their previous 15 contests as they make a bid for a playoff spot in the east. ... Nik Antropov played in his 500th NHL game last night. After scoring last night, the big winger has 284 points.


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