Blackhawks veteran Jake McCabe tired of playing on losing teams: 'Frankly, it sucks'

McCabe was drafted by the Sabres and joined Chicago right as the club embarked on a rebuild.

Veteran Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe is enjoying a productive 2022-23 campaign and has a good chance to set a new career high in points. Unfortunately, his individual numbers aren't what matter to him at this stage of his career.

McCabe is in the middle of his eighth full season in the NHL — 10th overall — and has never been on a team that has come close to qualifying for the playoffs.

“I don’t really give a s— about my personal stats, to be honest with you,” he said in an interview with The Athletic's Mark Lazerus. “It’s all about the team and all about winning. I’ve lost a lot in this league, and it’s getting pretty old. So I wouldn’t say that I’m by any means satisfied if I’m playing good or not. It depends on how we’re doing as a team.”

Jake McCabe #6 of the Chicago Blackhawks has never made the playoffs in his NHL career.  (Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jake McCabe #6 of the Chicago Blackhawks has never made the playoffs in his NHL career. (Photo by Rich Graessle/NHLI via Getty Images) (NHLI via Getty Images)

McCabe was drafted by Buffalo in 2012 and logged time on some abysmal Sabres teams. Now the 29-year-old finds himself on a Blackhawks squad that is firmly in the rebuilding stage, which is not what he expected when he signed a four-year contract with the club ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

“Frankly, it sucks, but it is what it is,” McCabe said of the rebuild. “You just have to have a good attitude about it. I think I do a pretty good job of separating my work from my family and turn that part of my brain off when I get home as best as I can. Some days are easier than others. But I come in refreshed the next day and ready to work and continue to get better at my own game, help young guys around here and help us grow as a team and grow an identity.”

Chicago owns the worst record in the league and is expected to continue trading its top players, having already dealt key forwards Alex DeBrincat and Kirby Dach last summer. Franchise icons Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews could very well find new homes by the March 3 trade deadline.

So is McCabe also hoping to be shipped to a team with Stanley Cup aspirations this spring? He claims he simply goes with the flow and tries to make the best out of whatever situation is in front of him.

“That s—’s out of my control,” he said. “You can’t spend your nights laying in bed thinking about what’s going to happen next year or two months from now or four months or whatever it may be. I truly stay very present, and I think I’ve done a good job of that over my career. I’ve learned to handle that pretty well.

"Why waste your breath worrying about those things? I come to work excited and I come to work my ass off every night. What else can you do?”

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