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Leafs defenseman Jake McCabe shows off damage after taking puck to eye


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Mike Armenti
April 16, 2024  (9:44)
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Jake McCabe plays the puck behind his net
Photo credit: Dan Hamilton - USA Today Sports

Maple Leafs defenseman Jake McCabe was back at practice on Monday after taking a puck to the face on Saturday night, forcing him out of the game against the Detroit Red Wings. McCabe spoke with the media on Monday, sporting a bit of a shiner and some stitches in his face, but when asked about his status, he was able to provide a positive update, confirming that "nothing's broken".

In case you missed it, here's the play and the resulting damage to McCabe's cheek and eye area:
McCabe was made available to the media on Monday and much of the conversation was centered around his injury. He did his best to convey the message that he's fine and that, thankfully, he was lucky enough to avoid the worst of it.
"I got lucky. It's obviously kind of scary with the eyes, but no, I feel fine. I can see fine, everything's fine, nothing's broken... Obviously, you'd like to avoid the eyeball, but sometimes it happens. Like I said, I was lucky and keep moving on here."

McCabe has been banged up a number of times this season, but like the true warrior that he is, he's been playing through just about every injury he's had through his 72 games this season, save for the lower body injury from earlier on this season that had cost him some time. As he pointed out to the media on Monday, though, playing through the pain helps him play better.
"Sometimes it helps you play better, at least in my opinion. Gets you pissed off. Or a little on edge. Playing with that tenacity and competitiveness brings the best out of all of us. It's part of the game. Everybody is dealing with something."

With the term "healthy" loosely defined when it comes to McCabe, the Leafs are currently very healthy on the blueline as the playoffs are set to commence this weekend. Sheldon Keefe has nine NHL-caliber defensemen at his disposal, including McCabe, as well as Morgan Rielly, Ilya Lyubushkin, Simon Benoit, Timothy Liljegren, T.J. Brodie, Joel Edmundson, Mark Giordano and Conor Timmins all healthy and ready to play. As we all know, depth is very important come playoff time, when nobody gets through the postseason at 100%.
If yesterday's pairings during the Leafs' line rushes at practice were any indication, even with stitches in his face, McCabe may still suit up for tonight's game against the Florida Panthers, their most likely round 1 opponent. I'm sure the two coaches will have a handshake deal in place to not go over the line against one another before the playoffs begin, which will be good news for McCabe, if he ends up playing.
McCabe came over to Toronto ahead of last year's trade deadline, along with Sam Lafferty and two 5th round picks, with the Leafs giving up a 1st round pick, a 2nd round pick, Joey Anderson and prospect Pavel Gogolev. Since joining the Leafs, McCabe has sacrificed the body on a number of occasions, which his teammates and coaches really admire about him.
"I don't know how many stitches that face has taken this season, but it's been a lot. He just keeps on going."
-Sheldon Keefe on McCabe

"He's been a warrior for us. He's really continued to evolve throughout the year. He's been a big part of the locker room off the ice as well. A lot of guys look to him to establish that fight, that physical presence, that bite we want to play with. He's become a vital piece for us on and off the ice."
-John Tavares on McCabe

[Jake McCabe] is an absolute warrior. Man, his face is taking a beating. But he's a warrior. That's why he plays good minutes for us. He's been one of our best defensemen all year. Just all around a very underrated defenseman in this league."
-Ryan Reaves on McCabe

With tonight's game marking the Leafs' 2nd-last game of the season and having already clinched a playoff spot, we should probably expect the Leafs to coast a little bit here down the stretch, with games against the two Florida-based teams to close out the season. However, when the playoffs do begin, cuts on his face or not, we can certainly expect McCabe to leave it all out there on the ice, like he's done all year long for the Leafs.
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Leafs defenseman Jake McCabe shows off damage after taking puck to eye

Is Jake McCabe overrated or underrated in your eyes?

I think he's a touch overrated3311.1 %
He's definitely underrrated16455.4 %
I don't think he's overrated or underrated9933.4 %
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