Bryan McCabe, now a Florida Panther, anticipates being booed by you, by us, the Toronto Maple Leafs faithful, in his return to the Air Canada Centre tonight.
Let's prove him wrong.
Look, I know the McCabe chapter in Leafs history had a shitty ending, but no matter what you think of him today, how about we show him some love tonight. What do you say?
We had some good times. Eight years. Over 520 games in the blue and white; 523 to be exact. Even 50 playoff games, including one of our deepest runs. Seasons of 43, 53, 68, and 57 points. A Team Canada selection. The can-opener. Dude was good.
And don't you forget the beautiful music McCabe and Tomas Kaberle made together. They were a lovely tandem back there. My lasting memory of McCabe, own-goal be damned, is him one-timing a cross-ice pass from Kabby, served up on a pillow on the power play, into the back of the net.
McCabe's trade out of Toronto has worked out for both teams. He's logging a ton of minutes on the Panthers' blue line and has responded well, as anticipated, to the fact that no one gives a shit about hockey down in Miami.
Mike Van Ryn, whom Toronto received in return, of course, has arguably been the best Leafs defenceman when he's in the lineup. Unfortunately he just can't stay in the lineup, thanks to douchebags who hit from behind.
So, do me a solid and save your wrath. McCabe doesn't deserve it. Even during his darkest days in a Leafs uniform, no one could accuse #24 of not playing with passion, or not trying. By all accounts, McCabe tried too much; tried too hard. He wanted nothing more than to live up to the massive contract John Ferguson Jr., aka the Antichrist, gave him, and his career in Toronto ended because of that desire and what it did to his game.
In the end, in my zen-like hold-no-grudges fashion, I wish McCabe nothing but good luck and all the success in the world. I'm glad to see him succeeding in Florida, and here's hoping he gets a warm ovation from the crowd tonight. Here's hoping the fans remember the good times. There were plenty.
Save your boos for Raycroft.