Points to note: McCabe has not been benched or told to stay home, reporters keep suggesting that it may happen, but Fletcher has so far dealt in good faith. Howard Berger seems to keep bringing it up on Hockey Buzz, but Fletcher so far seems to me to have been avoiding the public bashing that some few fans and media have been employing.
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Second point: As a media generated campaign to get a guy to leave, it's been done before, in other cities with similar results - Emery, Yashin in Ottawa, Brisebois, Samsonov, and many others in Montreal - in fact, till last season, it looked like Kovalev would be the next player chased out of town. It's wrong to do, but the fans are allowed to be critical of on-ice play...with Mcabe, he made the contract signing tough compared to other players and played hard-ball to get the big contract. You may recall that the Leafs had the whole McCabe question over their head for the better part of a season as the agent and player used good business sense to make the most of good timing with a rookie GM at the helm.
While I have all the sympathy in the world for McCabe - and consider him the second best d-man in Toronto, he was no rookie when he signed the big contract, and even a rookie should have known that a "No-Movement Clause" rather than a simple no-trade deal was going to make motivation a huge problem and possibly push management into new territory to meet the salary cap restraints or ice a team with a new look. McCabe made use of shrewd business moves when trying to arrange for a contract with maximum leverage - in part because teams always play hardball with players in making business decisions - it is expected on both sides, that's why there are agents.
McCabe pushing for the crazy contract clauses WAS a Business decision, Telling the Media in a statement that McCabe expected the Leafs to buy him out if they wanted him to accept any change in role or location is ALSO a business decision, For Toronto to decide that buying out McCabe to make room for other players is not feasible, would be a business decision too. If the coach decides that he wants to give McCabe less ice time and play his young players in a rebuilding year - That would be a hockey decision - with possible business repercussions - ONLY IF McCabe chose to make it so. The Leafs own his contract, and they can employ him in any capacity that the coach deems sensible towards keeping his own job and helping the team to improve. The GM is paid to suggest whether that improvement be short term or long term development.
No matter what for McCabe, he gets his money to play hockey - not to run the Leafs - and that is where there would be a problem. So far, that has not happened, and ALL of this speculation feeding the flames is simply trying to create a crisis where one does not exist. Wilson may well want to use McCabe more than the last coach, or less, but that is what HE is paid to do. Not McCabe,nor his agent, nor Howard Berger, nor Glenn Healy. So let's just wait until the season starts to see if there truly is any sort of situation to be resolved....anything else is just plain silly.
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