But on Tuesday, his goal with two seconds remaining sent the second game of the Alumni Showdown at Comerica Park past regulation.
"That was fun," McCabe said after the Toronto Maple Leafs alumni rallied from a 5-1 deficit before dropping a 6-5 shootout decision against the Detroit Red Wings. "I'm not going to lie … that felt good. It was just good. It was a close game. It was nice to come back. Just to be invited here and just to be a part of the whole process was great."
The Alumni Showdown was a big part of the festivities this week that will be capped by the 2014 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic, which the Maple Leafs and Red Wings will play Wednesday in front of what is expected to be a record crowd at Michigan Stadium.
McCabe, who turned pro in 1995 and appeared in 1,135 NHL games, admitted he is jealous he didn't get to play in a Winter Classic during his career.
"I wish they came up with this 15, 20 years ago when I was playing," McCabe said. "It's a lot of fun. It's a very special thing. You get to play outside like when you were a kid. The fans and all that stuff, it's awesome."
Despite the loss, the Maple Leafs' dressing room was all smiles. The Alumni Showdown provided dozens of retired players an opportunity to be kids again, if only for a few hours. McCabe, who played for Toronto from 2000-08, was extremely grateful for the invitation.
"It was a great experience," McCabe said. "Just to be involved and be out there with all these Hall of Famers, some special players … Gordie Howe, Red Kelly behind the bench … it was just a very special day. It was awesome."
Follow Brian Compton on Twitter: @BComptonNHL