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McCabe right player in the right deal

by Staff Writer / New York Rangers
VIDEO: McCabe Interview at Training Center

Rangers Get McCabe in Trade with Florida

By Jim Cerny,

When asked after practice on Saturday about the upcoming NHL trade deadline, Rangers head coach John Tortorella said that the organization was all for a deal that could help the team in the present as long as it did not negatively impact the future by trading off any of its talented young players.

Several hours later, the Rangers announced that they had made precisely the sort of trade that Tortorella was referring to earlier in the day.

Late Saturday afternoon the Rangers acquired veteran defenseman Bryan McCabe from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward Tim Kennedy, who has spent the entire season playing in the American Hockey League with the Connecticut Whale, and a third-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

In bringing 15-year NHL veteran Bryan McCabe into the fold, the Rangers have given a group of young defenseman an experienced teammate they can look to for leadership and advice at crunch time.
“Bryan McCabe adds an established veteran presence to our young defense corps,” Rangers President and General Manager Glen Sather said in a statement. “He can help provide offense with his strong shot on the power play, and his versatility allows him to play either the left or right side effectively. Bryan also brings outstanding leadership qualities, having served a steam captain for Florida for the past two seasons.”

McCabe, 35, is a 15-year NHL veteran who has played in 1,116 games for five different teams since being selected in the second round of the 1993 draft by the Islanders. This season, the sturdy McCabe -- the captain of the Panthers since Sept. 23, 2009 -- had registered five goals, 17 assists, and 22 points in 48 games, despite missing time with a broken jaw that has since healed.

Along with toughness in his own end, and a heavy slap shot from the point, McCabe brings a wealth of experience to the young Rangers’ defense corps. Prior to McCabe’s arrival, Steve Eminger was the oldest (27) and most experienced (397 career games played) defenseman on the Blueshirts’ roster.

“It’s awful tough to find because a lot of teams are looking for the same kind of guy,” Tortorella said earlier in the day about trying to acquire a veteran defenseman. “We’re certainly not knee-jerking and trying to just grab someone. If it’s the right fit and we don’t mortgage our future with our kids, I’m sure Glen is going to explore that.”

Rangers’ management and the coaching staff have been thrilled with the play of the shut-down pairing of Marc Staal (24) and Dan Girardi (26), as well as with rookies Michael Sauer (23) and Ryan McDonagh (21), and they are pleased with the development of second-year pro Matt Gilroy (26). But there has also been a belief that the team could use a steadying veteran presence on defense down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs.

McCabe fits that role in ideal fashion. And he is, in Tortorella’s words, “the right fit” since the Rangers did not surrender any of the current’s young core or any of the organization’s prospects.

“We have an organizational philosophy that we want to build this team, and we can’t get too short-sighted in trying to get that immediate fix to get (into the playoffs) in seventh or eighth place and get your (butt) kicked every year,” said Tortorella. “Our goal is the Stanley Cup, not just making it into the playoffs every year. And I think by keeping our kids and showing patience with them and letting them grow, we are on the right road to the Cup. So it’s going to be awfully hard for teams to pry any of the kids away from us. It’s going to have to be the right deal at the right time.”

McCabe, who is expected make his Rangers debut on Sunday afternoon when the Blueshirts host the Tampa Bay Lightning, has notched 143 goals, 522 points, and 1,726 penalty minutes in his career. His best season statistically was in 2005-06 when he scored 19 goals, added 49 assists, and totaled 68 points while a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The NHL trading deadline is set for 3 p.m. on Monday afternoon. Sather is continuing to explore all of his trade options up until the deadline.

“I think as a general manager you are always looking to improve your team,” said Tortorella. “But in this organization we can not mortgage our future just because everyone wants our kids. We could have made 10 deals by now, but we can’t get too focused on short-term gain. There is a long-term process here, and we are committed to it.”
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