Montreal has sent Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina in exchange for underachieving fluffball Tomas Kaberle.
I hate this, if only for the fact that I haven’t liked Kaberle’s play since he was a Toronto Maple Leaf, but him being a Leaf and then a Bruin may have distorted my view somewhat.
Once upon a time he handled the puck well, sent nice passes up ice to streaking forwards, and was the quarterback on the power play. But like most hockey players, there came a time in Kaberle’s career when things began to wind down. It wound down big-time in Boston, then Carolina, and unless he surprises the heck out of me, his winding down will continue in Montreal.
Kaberle doesn’t play tough, mishandles pucks, is caught out of position, and even though he’s had a nice career playing 931 games (84 goals, 454 assists), that was then and this is now. We need more toughness, not the opposite. Do you think a guy like Kaberle is going to help ease the problems of keeping pucks out of the net when the score is close, as has been one our achilles heels this season? Not a chance. We’ve just picked up a guy who more and more would make a decent American Hockey Leaguer.
Jaroslav Spacek is a stay-at-home type, strong and conservative, who does the little things, and is a more or less reliable blueliner. Nothing fancy, just punched the clock and went to work. He’s been bitten by the injury bug lately and he’s old at 37. Kaberle is the opposite type of player, a skating, puck-handling playmaker four years younger than Spacek. But these numbers don’t mean a thing when it comes to Kaberle. This isn’t a guy in his prime, it’s a guy on the downside of things. He’s also a guy who earns a whopping $12.75 million over three years.
All I can say is, I hope Kaberle somehow becomes a nice fit in Montreal and proves me wrong. But I very much doubt it. And is this the best the Canadiens can do in fixing what ails them? Or is it just the beginning?
With all my heart, I hope more changes are coming. And with all my heart, I hope it gets better than the addition of Kaberle.