After months of playing hard-ball, it appears Bryan McCabe is finally realizing his tenure in Toronto is tarnished, and the only way to continue with his career is to start anew.
According to The Toronto Star, McCabe's agent, Ian Pulver, has confirmed the two sides have been discussing the possibility of a trade. ''Bryan is starting to think about possibly getting his career started somewhere else," said Fletcher. "We'll leave him alone. He's going to get back to us in a couple of weeks. There's not going to be any issues. I'm really confident it's going to be resolved amicably before training camp."
While McCabe was never a fan-favorite among the Leafs' fan base, he's certainly not use to the treatment he's receiving in Toronto. After a strong season in the 06/07 season, McCabe fell off the charts, ending with a disappointing 5 goal, 23 point campaign. Even with those disappointing numbers, this was not the problem that has made Leafs fan so angry. Instead, it was the horrid defensive blunders that have cost the Leafs so many important games last season. While you can't question his leadership, McCabe was a mess in all other aspects, rendering him useless on an already weak defense core.
With only a few weeks from pre-season action, Cliff is pushing hard to rid his team of McCabe's services. And if he's successful in doing so, expect to see a happy Pavel Kubina. It was barely a month ago where discussions' where running wild that it was either Kubina or McCabe to be the next players sent out of town. And the closer August 15th approaches the higher chances that Kubina stays and McCabe leaves (who should we feel bad for here?). And now Fletcher has confirmed the possibility of Kubina becoming team captain, even after he tried mercifully to trade him away a few months ago.
It doesn't seem that long ago when Fletcher was fuming after Kubina changed his mind about the trade that would make him a Shark. After Cliff stated players would be moved (clearly looking in Kubina's direction with the trade window open from July 15th to August 15th) he confirmed the possibility of trading Kubina, letting the Czech know his days in Toronto might be numbered. Suddenly, Fletcher stated that "Any trade involving Pavel would have to be very advantageous for the Leafs. I thought he played well last season and I know Ron Wilson liked him a lot. Plus, it's very quiet right now for trades."
You can imagine what Kubina is feeling besides confusion right now. Not only does his new coach like him, but with McCabe gone, he will play on the #1 PP Unit with Tomas Kaberle, serving as Toronto's main point-man.
Personally, I thought there were stretches were Kubina was the Leafs' best all-around d-man last season, often showing a lot of heart and passion through his game. With that said though, I don't believe he's deserving of being captain just yet. Not only has Kaberle been a Leaf much longer than he has, but he's also the Leafs' best player with Sundin out of the lineup. While he doesn't have the leadership that Kubina has, he also doesn't have the extra pressure of a $US 5-million dollar contract. Not only that, but fans know what to expect from Kaberle, and appointing him as captain wouldn't add too much extra pressure for such a quality player. Kubina on the other hand, will already have expectations to produce more on the powerplay, and to become the team's clear-cut #2 d-man (replacing the once effective McCabe). Giving him the C on top of that might be too much for him, and much like McCabe in those situations, could cause a break-down.
While the summer is wrapping up and the season inches closer and closer, the work for Fletcher doesn't appear to be diminishing. But that's what happens when you run a team so carelessly.