Bryan McCabe (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Defenseman Bryan McCabe has been solid on the blue line in his first season with the Panthers, scoring seven goals and adding 11 assists while being a plus-seven.
Before returning to Toronto to play Tuesday evening against his former team the Maple Leafs, McCabe answered questions sent to FloridaPanthers.com from fans.
His answers are below.
Joe Lewis of Margate: What was the image of the Panthers within the league in the past? What has changed?
McCabe: “I looked at the team before I came here as young and up-and-coming. A lot of talent with some guys been here a long time. A team just on the cusp of making the playoffs. Now I think we’ve built an identity for ourselves over the last couple months as a hard working team. We’re not a team that’s going to score a lot of goals, but we’re going to outwork teams and get great goaltending and win games like that.” Chris Coughlin of Jupiter: Best and worst thing about being an NHL player?
McCabe: “The best thing is you get to do something you love and dream about as a kid. Worst? Travel.” Joni Rouvinen of Plantation: What do you remember about Maple Leafs’ goalie Vesa Toskala?
McCabe: “Great guy, great goalie. Battles really hard, works hard in practice. Gives you an opportunity to win every night. He’s a legitimate No. 1 goalie.”
Peter in Ontario: How do you pick your stick? Curve? Flex?
McCabe: “Flex and curve. You grow up and try a bunch of different stuff and get used to them. I’ve used Easton now for eight, nine years and I love the whip in it, the flex. The puck seems to jump off the stick for me.” Deidra in Jacksonville: What goes into running the power play? Do you skate the puck up ice all the time?
McCabe: “Shots. I think getting shots to the net with traffic. That’s the way most power plays are successful. When you get pucks through, and guys are in front of the goalie and the goalie can’t see it, he can’t stop it. I’d rather have Bo skate the puck (up). He’s a better skater than me. I’m more of a shooter than a go end-to-end type of guy.”
Alexis Wray, Brett Simoneau and Tomek Kowal: What’s it like going from the media glare of Toronto to Florida?
McCabe: “It’s a big change, obviously. There’s 30 media people deep every day in Toronto. It’s on the front page of the paper every day. You really can’t get away from it. Down here there’s a couple beat writers, one television (camera)…there’s not much coverage. It’s a nice change. Being out at Target or at the beach, I never get recognized.” James from Cooper City: What’s your favorite NHL city?
LinJim from Ontario: How hard is your shot?
McCabe: “The hardest was 99.9 one year. I never broke 100.”
Gem21044: What’s it like being a Jets fan?
McCabe (laughing): “Not good right now considering Miami made the playoffs ahead of us. I spend my summers on Long Island, my wife is from there, and I have a lot of friends who are Jets fans. I’ve taken in a lot of games over the last few years.”
Adam Kaiser: How do you relax? Any favorite restaurants?
McCabe: “I have two kids so we never get out. I relax with my two kids in the pool. We travel so much that all my off time is spent with my family.”
Epowell Alex: Is there is a big adjustment between Air Canada Centre and BankAtlantic Center?
McCabe: “No, not really. I tend to be a guy who doesn’t look above the boards. I keep my eyes on the ice. It’s nice to play in a louder building. The other night (against Montreal at BankAtlantic) was loud. Even if most of the fans were for the other team, I’d rather have that than an empty building.”