McCabe likes Antropov

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:39 AM ET

Bryan McCabe does not necessarily agree with Nik Antropov's assessment that the Maple Leafs teams of the past few seasons weren't as close-knit as they could have been.

Speaking earlier this week, Antropov, now a New York Ranger, said he noticed what a close team the Rangers were -- closer than the Leafs were in recent times.

"We had a good core group of guys for many years," McCabe, now a Florida Panther, said yesterday. "You are always going to have cliques on any team but I had no issue with how tight our teams were there."

McCabe said Antropov was well-liked in the Leaf dressing room.

"Nikky is a really good guy," McCabe said.

At the moment, McCabe has other things to worry about, such as wearing a cage.

McCabe had not worn one since he represented Canada at the world junior championship.

"I think I was about 19," McCabe said.

He's wearing one now after the former whipping boy of Leafs Nation took a slapshot in the area of his right eye a couple of weeks ago, forcing him to undergo surgery on his orbital bone. Part of the procedure involved surgeons inserting three plates into McCabe's face, which now features a series of faint scars under the eye.

McCabe returned to the Panthers lineup Tuesday wearing a cage. He tried a different one last night.

"At least I can breathe better with this one," he said. "But, really, they're both crap. You still have the usual vision problems."

Beefing up

The Leafs have added some more muscle to the organization.

The team has signed forward Alex Berry to a two-year entry-level contract. Berry will join the Marlies.

"Alex is coming off his best offensive season at UMass," GM Brian Burke said. "He plays a strong, physical game, is very competitive and uses his size to his advantage."

Berry, 23, was selected by the Leafs in the fifth round, 153rd overall, in the 2005 entry draft. In 124 games with UMass-Amherst over four seasons (2005 to 2009), Berry collected 62 points.


Videos

Photos