Sometimes – an organization’s problems run so deep, everyone is running around trying to stick their fingers in the leaky holes. Problem is , the holes are too many and by scurrying about – the source of the leak is over-looked. That is the problem with the Montreal Canadiens.
They acquired an offensive defenceman to plug a leaky power-play and by doing so, management will improve the winning percentage of the ice hockey club. Special teams mean so much in this NHL, an increase of ten percent on the P. P almost guarantees a climb up a few rungs in the standings. The problem with the Habs – it has become an annual ritual. Last season , James Wizniewski was brought in to fill the skates of the departed Bergeron from the previous season. Bergeron and the Wiz were both brought in to replace a wonky Markov. Now – Tomas Kaberle will be asked to do the same thing. Great right …? Not so much. All Kaberle will do is ensure the team hits the eighth and final play-off spot. Thus guaranteeing the Habs the extra revenue required to sign Carey Price and P.K Subban in the future. The Canadiens will retain their two most popular players and continue on their way of becoming the New York Yankees of the 1970′s …
Tomas Kaberle replaces the aging Jaroslav Spacek. A Czech for a Czech. Defence for offence. A good deal if the Habs had not ridden themselves of Roman Hamrlik. Like Hamrlik – Spacek brought experience to the team and although his age ( 37) was starting to send him to the infirmary too often , the poise he brought to the ice and the dressing room is like when Peter Budaj is in goals – PRICELESS!
Kaberle has a suspect reputation. Playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs will do that for a career. However, what follows Kaberle to Montreal is a trail of not-coming-up-big when it counted. Sure the 33 year-old rearguard has impressive numbers.He was the Andrei Markov of the Leafs for years. However, the defence man was dealt to the Bruins last season and was a non-factor on a Stanley Cup winning team. In his defence – he was sent to a team at season’s end, playing twenty-four regular season games. It is always difficult for a player to adjust to a new system and teammates. Yet there is a reason why he was not re-signed with Boston. Bruins’ management did not feel as if the money Kaberle warranted was worth it. In 25 play-off games last season, Tomas had 11 assists and was a+ 8. Respectable numbers on a Stanley Cup ride yet Kaberle was barely used during key situations and never fit in with the Bruins’ system. The 11 assists during the play-offs along with the one goal and eight assists he registered in the regular season are easy numbers for a player with his talent.
It is difficult to get a feel for what Kaberle has done in Carolina this season. It is a team that is struggling on and off the ice. Was Kaberle happy in Raleigh as he accumulated his nine points( all assists)? Is his -19 a reflection of his or his former team’s play ? A little of both as any couple with marital troubles will attest. If the heart is unhappy at home – work suffers. Habs fans can cross their sticks that Tomas will be happier in Montreal and that joy is reflected in his play.
Martin Must Go
Kaberle, Bergeron, the Wiz are all band-aids to an ailing Canadiens leaky ship. The amount of talent on this team would have won 6 – 0 last night against Vancouver. Jacques Martin and the Hab brain trust are sadly convinced that a lead requires protection.They are squandering wins and points at an alarming rate. Unleash the old and young guns alike … Let the Cammalleris and the Ellers do what they are paid to do. If P.K Subban will get the Habs an additional fifty goals by way of assists and goals yet making mistakes that may lead to a disc beyond Price once in a while – who cares? Coffey did that for years in Edmonton and if Glen Sather’s name is Googled – a few Stanley Cups appear.
That is the problem with the Montreal Canadiens.