PHILADELPHIA -- Ever since the summer, Jake McCabe had been planning on being at the Wells Fargo Center in April. The problem is he got here a week too soon.
The Buffalo Sabres defenseman was hoping to play in the NCAA Frozen Four here next weekend but top-seeded Wisconsin got upset by North Dakota. McCabe gave up his senior season, signed with the Sabres and will instead play at the WFC tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers.
There's a big sign on the outside of the building advertising the tournament (it's on the left in the picture; click for a bigger view). McCabe saw it yesterday as the Sabres' team bus drove by the arena from the airport.
"Our whole year, our sights were set on coming to Philly for the Frozen Four and we had the team to do it," McCabe told me here today. "We had a great group. We had a 1 seed going in. We just didn't get the job done but we still accomplished a lot of good things. I made it here but just in a little differet fashion I guess.
"I saw the sign yesterday. I kind of chuckled to myself and at the same time I was a little ticked off. But I'm here now so that's good."
McCabe certainly has been as good as advertised in his first two games. He's plus one against St. Louis and Detroit.
"He's done a great job," said Sabres defenseman and fellow Wisconsin alum Jamie McBain. "He's a big strong kid. You can tell his comfort the first two games. I went to Albany in the AHL. To jump into this league and the first game is against the Blues is not an easy situation. The poise that he handled it with, it's been a lot of fun to watch his first two games."
"I'm getting thrown right into it, that's for sure," McCabe said. "These last few games will really tell me what I need to do to be here next year. I'm going to have to go home, work my butt off in the summer to stay at the level I need to be so I can be in Buffalo."