January 10, 2006
VANCOUVER (CP) -- A groin injury will keep Bryan McCabe, the NHL's top-scoring defenceman, out of the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup for Tuesday night's game against the Vancouver Canucks.
A frustrated McCabe hopes to miss just the one game and wants to be ready when Toronto hosts Phoenix on Saturday night.
"It sucks,'' McCabe said Monday as he leaned against a wall at GM Place. "I pride myself on not having to miss games but this is something I can't mess around with.
"I don't want to make it any worse. We have a lot of games in a lot of nights over the next three months of the season. Hopefully I'll take a couple days off and I'll be fine.''
McCabe, who has 49 points including 34 assists in 42 games, said he hurt himself in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers. That came after the Leafs lost 1-0 to Calgary on Friday night.
"I came out of the penalty box there and, on the first stride, I felt it right away,'' said McCabe, who played 95 games over two seasons with Vancouver. "It's a fluke thing.
"Stuff like that happens on back-to-back nights. I don't think it's too serious.''
Carlo Colaiacovo, who missed several games with a wrist injury, will replace McCabe in the lineup.
McCabe is also a reserve player for the Canadian Olympic team that will play at the Turin Winter Games, which begin next month.
Vancouver defenceman Ed Jovanovski (groin) and Adam Foote of the Columbus Blue Jackets (hip) are also out with injuries.
Leaf coach Pat Quinn, who is also the Olympic team head coach, said he's not worried right now about any of the three not being ready for the Turin Games. But if the players don't get healthy soon it could cause a problem, Quinn added.
"If they are injured for a long time and we need to use the games over there to have them come back to play, it's not a very good idea,'' he said. "Hopefully (they) will get back in and get some hockey played.
"We will have some decisions to make if they are not really healthy going over there. We will have to maybe think of some other alternatives.''
McCabe is just the latest Leaf to fall to injury.
Eric Lindros is out with ligament damage in his right wrist. Goaltender Ed Belfour, captain Mats Sundin and Tie Domi have all missed games this year.
Despite that, Toronto still has won seven-of-eight games.
"We've had a number of injuries this year but we seem to find a way to battle through them and still compete hard on a nightly basis,'' said Darcy Tucker, who also is nursing injured ribs but expects to play against the Canucks.
Quinn said the injuries can partly be blamed on the tough NHL schedule all teams face.
"We play too many games, often, in too short a time,'' said Quinn. "These players, we expect them to be going 100 per cent every night.
"A lot try to give their best every night and they just don't have time to recover. The element of fatigue starts to take over and that's when you start to get, not only muscle-pull injuries, but you find you're not mentally as sharp and can't get out of the way of some of these things that happen. That's why I think we have so many injuries right now throughout the league.''