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"Ask a Leaf" With Bryan McCabe

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs
Welcome to a new feature on where you can ask a question of a member of the Maple Leafs each week and see selected answers posted here. You will also be able to see the answers on FanCam, one of the more popular shows on Leafs TV.

This week you can Richard Jackman anything you like. We will pick the best questions for him and Richard's answers will appear here and also on the FanCam episode Saturday, March 22 at 11:30 am. FanCam also has repeat broadcasts throughout the week so check the Leafs TV schedule.

Recently, we had the chance to do a Q+A with Maple Leafs' blueliner Bryan McCabe.

Q: Who were your mentors and favourite players growing up?

Bryan: "Well I grew up in Calgary so my favourite player probably would have been Lanny McDonald. Some of my role models are my parents and my older brother. He's three years older than me, so I grew up watching him play hockey and kind of tried to follow in his foot steps."

Q: Was making it to the NHL you childhood dream?
Bryan: "It's all I ever wanted to do. My parents put me on skates when I was two and by the time I was five all I was saying was I want to be an NHL player. And a funny story, I did a book report in about grade 6 about what you want to be when you get older and I did 'a hockey player'.... And the teacher wouldn't accept it because it wasn't a real job (laughs), so there you go!"

Q: Do you still consider hockey a game or is it a job now that you play in the NHL?

Bryan: "I still love it... it's not a job for me. I get paid to do something I love which I think anyone would like to do. I still enjoy coming to the rink every day and have a lot of fun doing it."

Q: Do you have any good luck rituals before a game?

Bryan: "I think it's more routine than anything. You know you put your left skate on before your right. You sleep a couple of hours a day. I think that's the best part of the routine. You usually eat the same meal cause that's all we have on the road is chicken and pasta... but other than that I'm not too bad."

Q: What was it like to score your first NHL goal?

Bryan: "It was awesome! I scored on Halloween in 1995 - I remember, in Florida, slapshot, five hole on a goalie there and I was jumping around like I had scored the game winning goal in the Stanley Cup, that's for sure."

Q: What is your best hockey memory?

Bryan goes to the ice to stop the puck.
Bryan: "The first goal was a big... first game was a big thing in Boston and probably my world junior experience. I had the opportunity to play two gold medal teams when I was younger and that was a big lift playing for your country."

Q: What's the best part about being a Toronto Maple Leaf?

Bryan: "It's great... you know every kid even coming from Calgary. I grew up watching the Leafs because that's all they play on Saturday nights, so you kind of become accustomed to the uniform and the crowds. It was a great feeling to come here and put on the jersey for the first time and go out there in front of a sold out crowd. It's a lot of fun."

Q: What is it like to play at the ACC?

Bryan: "It's great! It' not often you get the opportunity to play in front of a sold-out-crowd every night. Toronto is the hockey Mecca, it's the best place in the world to play. You got to love the pressure and the fans are critics, but I think it's a good thing. It puts a little pressure on you and makes you want to do well for them."

Q: Who's the toughest player to play against in the NHL?

Bryan: "There's a few... Jagr's one of then, Forsberg, Lemieux on the power play. So, there's many. There's a lot of good players out there."

Q: What's your least favourite sport to play?

Bryan: "Least favourite sport... Well, the only sport I didn't play growing up was football, although, I love to watch it. I pretty much like everything, soccer is probably my least favourite sport, the most boring to watch to me."

Q: What goes through your mind during a game?

Bryan: "A lot of emotion, a lot of intensity... just trying to tune out all our yelling behind the bench, just kidding! It's just fun, you're trying to be focused - you know, you want to compete every shift and get your rest when you're on the bench."

Q: What makes your hip-check so powerful?

Bryan: "Eat, eat and eat! You've got to have a big behind to hip check and I seem to have one of the biggest in the league I think! So that 's probably why it works to my advantage."

Q: What would be your message to young players trying to make the big leagues?

Bryan: "I'd just say have fun, enjoy the game, don't take it too seriously. You know, like I said before, to this day I still enjoy coming to the rink, I don't think you can go anywhere with something you don't like, so as long as you're still having fun you know you're in a good spot."

Check back in upcoming weeks for the next installment of ASK A LEAF.
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