A benching hasn’t affected Jake McCabe’s mindset. The defenseman knows what he can bring to the Sabres’ lineup.
It’s not clear whether he’ll get the chance.
After scratching McCabe in Buffalo’s previous game, coach Dan Bylsma wouldn’t say Friday whether the defenseman will be in the lineup this weekend. The Sabres close the season Saturday in Florida and Sunday in Tampa Bay.
“I had four bad periods,” McCabe said in HarborCenter. “In this league, if you’re not performing you’re not going to play.”
McCabe coughed pucks over in consecutive games this week, leading to goals for the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs. He sat when Montreal came to town, though he defiantly said there was little to learn from watching.
“I’ve played enough games,” he said. “There’s nothing eye-opening. It’s just one of those times where I had a little bit of a confidence issue and wasn’t performing. We’ve got guys in this lineup that can perform.
“It just kind of snowballed a little bit. I’m not going to lose sleep over it. It is what it is. It’s a game. We got two points. That’s all that matters.”
The benching came on the night the Sabres announced their player-voted awards. His teammates voted McCabe as the Unsung Hero.
“It was a nice recognition," McCabe said. "We’ve got a great group of guys in here, so it was nice that it came from the teammates. I just try to come to work every day. There’s a certain expectation of how I’m going to play and what my role is on this team. That’s what I try to bring every single day.
“On the flip side of that, I haven’t been bringing it so I’m not in the lineup.”