Waiting until the end of the news cycle yesterday, the Florida Panthers announced that they have traded defenseman Mike Van Ryn to Toronto for a 4th-round draft pick. Oh, and some guy named Bryan McCabe. Because the 4th round pick has yet to be selected, we were unable to obtain an interview with it. McCabe, on the other hand, is slighty pissed about the cheap shots I’ve taken over the year, but is ready to reconcile. We tailed him through the Toronto Airport as he made his way to visit his new club in Miami.
My notes, taken on a Cinnabon napkin, are after the jump.
8:03 AM: Ok, so we’re here in Toronto and McCabe’s standing in the check-in line over there for United. His flight is scheduled for 9:40, so it looks like our boy did the right thing and planned conservatively with his time management. He looks confident and relaxed, ready to be an integral member of today’s business class section. Rumor has it that his seat at 4A became available when Alexander Karpovtsev overslept and got booted from the flight.
8:05 AM: He’s at the front of the line, and my God, what an exemplary traveler. His luggage fits well within the FAA-decreed height and weight restrictions, he’s able to shift his laptop bag from his left shoulder to his right shoulder almost effortlessly, and he’s even assisting a nice foreign couple with their check-in procedures. This has truly been a breakout check-in for Bryan McCabe.
8:09 AM: McCabe has quickly become the darling of the United staff, as a perky blonde has offered to escort him over to Customs. As far as their concerned, he’s an All-Star with their Mileage Plus program, and some might even say he’s worthy of their Norris Upgrade – by which he’d be give a first-class seat on every flight from now on. Unfortunately, Nick Lidstrom once stopped a terrorist in B Terminal and currently holds this honor.
8:13 AM: McCabe, after a serious flirting session, waits patiently to speak with a customs agent. I, on the other hand, just had my second Cinnabon. And despite my diet-destroying ways, McCabe is the one who suddenly looks tired. His lethargy has not gone unnoticed by the United chick with his newly-acquired phone number. She considers tearing it up, and then slips it into her pocket begrudgingly.
8:21 AM: HANG ON HERE, PEOPLE. Something’s up. It appears customs has some sort of threat on the radar, as they’ve temporarily locked out all passengers trying to get out of Canada. McCabe doesn’t look happy, but he’s standing near some Swedes. Curious.
9:01 AM: After the lockout, things seem to be back to normal. Except that McCabe is clearly flustered. When the customs agent asked for identification for a couple headed to Buffalo, McCabe inexplicably shoved his passport into their hands and proclaimed, “This one’s on me.” The couple, confused, keeps McCabe’s passport as a souvenir for the signature within. Go Sabres.
9:15 AM: Things are not going well inside the terminal. (Don’t ask how I got in to the terminal while bypassing Customs. I’m made of magic.) An exasperated Bryan McCabe is mere yards from his gate. However, this flight is going to be jammed, as all but one seat is filled in the waiting area. McCabe will never get that seat, as another passenger (whistling the theme to Rocky) also has his sights set on it.
9:16 AM: As a last-ditch effort to reserve the seat, McCabe attempts an ill-advised cross-terminal pass of his laptop bag in the seat’s general direction. The good news? The bag sails across the linoleum directly towards its target. The bad news? The bag has distracted the Rocky fan, who scoops up the bag and heads back towards the entrance. Go Flyers.
9:21 AM: Having given up on the seat, McCabe stops to get a Tim Hortons coffee prior to boarding. He promptly spills it on his pants while reaching for a stirrer. He then bangs his hand on the counter reaching for damage control napkins. Andrei Kostitsyn laughs farther back in line.
9:40 AM: Just on schedule, United Flight 24 heads to South Florida, with a tired, mistake-prone defenseman nursing simultaneous groin and hand injuries.