Kaberle In, Spacek Out

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.



24 thoughts on “Kaberle In, Spacek Out”

  1. He’s definitely not what the team needs right now.
    But if he can somehow bounce back and play like when he was with the Leafs then I applaud Gauthier’s trust in him.
    Like you said, we need someone that actually plays defense, all that quarterbacking stuff can wait when Markov comes back

    This move is very High Risk/ High Reward.
    This is do or die for Kaberle and Gauthier here. If Kaberle manages to turn things around, Gauthier is gonna end up looking like a genius, because having Kaberle when he’s playing well is definitely a step-up from Spacek.

    Hopefully having Kaberle come back to a big hockey city will somehow help him play better.

    The team is in such dire straits right now, it’s become extremely sad

  2. This is really appalling. Does Gauthier not watch hockey? Does he hate the team that much? The things I’ve heard about Kaberle are bad. He has a reputation of being constantly out of shape and not being able to do much (to say the least). He is good friends with Plecks though.

    Now I think we are over the Cap (or right on it). So maybe another trade is coming. We got this guy for the next 3 years. Sigh. Did they not learning anything from the Gomez fiasco?

  3. never have truer words been spoken mr. kane………….. does acquiring kaberle mean markov is indeed not coming back?

  4. My initial reaction was much the same but then as I thought about it I kind of thought “Well???”. Of course while I was still in the “well” phase I started reading some blogs and the guys at Lions In Winter said what my brain was slowly coming around to and think about it who is Kaberle replacing? Not Markov but St.Denis or Weber once Markov is back and right now that should be an upgrade. Hopefully Kaberle finds a reason to pick up his game and reward Gauthier’s faith in him. Right now, especially after last night’s fiasco, I’m ready to hold off on my judgement.

  5. Dishonest John, for me it’s not even about who he might be replacing. This guy is on serious decline, making over 4 million a year, didn’t help in Boston or Carolina, and probably won’t help here either. I think it’s a horrible addition.

  6. i think we should expect another move. we r right up against the cap. Maybe 79 aint gonna be back? Maybe gomez is moving or going to hamilton. maybe moving a couple of our younger d-men for another forward. WTF r they doing those jack-asses?

  7. I would like to see Jacques Martin get fired and have Randy Carlyle take over as head coach.

    That way we would be the only team with three coaches named Randy:

    Randy Carlyle, Randy Ladouceur and Randy Cunneyworth.

    These are the bright ideas we get when the teams sucks so badly.

  8. Danno, the Three Randy’s. Opera singing hockey coaches. Actually, I’d like to see Carlyle here I think. I don’t know a lot about him. I think he’s a strict fellow though. And he’s had success winning a Cup. I remember him when he played for the Leafs.
    Maybe Randy Bachman could be GM, Randy Quaid President, and Randy Travis anthem singer to go with the three coaches.

  9. Maybe Mister Lahey’s buddy Randy (from the Trailer Park Boys) could get a job as an usher at the Bell Centre. Or maybe he could dress up as Youppi!

    He likes costumes…

  10. On the good side of this trade at least in his desperation to save his job Mr. Gauthier did not trade away any of the young players. At least not yet. The season so far has been somewhat of a joke with Mr. Martin and Mr. Gauthier the lead clowns.

  11. Agreed 100% Don. I see nothing in the way of bringing this team back to past glory. It’s all mediocity now with no light in the distant future.

  12. WTF? Is Montreal the dumping ground for other teams’ mistakes?

    The pessimist in me thinks we’ll be looking back on this trade next year almost as fondly as the Gomez/Higgins trade. The optimist in me agrees that Kaberle will help our power-play and he is an improvement over St-Denis, Weber and Spacek who we won’t miss and I wasn’t expecting back next year. Now for the realist.

    It’s not difficult to find someone to be a 6th or 7th defenceman. Look at Diaz and Emelin. Campoli should return soon, Markov maybe one day and we have a few prospects waiting in the wings. For $4.25M I expect at least a #3 defenceman. Forget about who he’s replacing now, who will he be replacing next year? Spacek’s contract expired at the end of the year freeing up over $3.83M in cap space. I hate to think we’ll lose Gorges because so much money is wasted on Kaberle.

    Kaberle is remembered for his puck carrying ability on the power-play in Toronto from several years ago. Boston primarily traded for him last year to help their anemic PP. Saying he was a bust doesn’t do his suckitude justice. Despite still having a pathetic power-play, they gave up playing him. In our play-off series they didn’t score a single PP goal, they gave up one short-handed and it didn’t get much better in the next three rounds. He was invisible through-out. This year he had the worst +/- of all Hurricane defencemen at -12.

    And to make matters worse, Spacek had two assists tonight in his first game.

  13. Oops, I almost forgot about the special surprise parcel that arrived this morning. Thank you Dennis for the gift pack and please convey my gratitude to the folks at Scotia Hockey Club and to Gaston for pulling my name.

  14. out of bed dennis, get your morning cup of coffee, it’s hockey night in canada. don cherry will look like he is still in his pj’s as usual and even harder to look at this time of day………….. how many are hoping for our new d-star to do well in his first game or are we beyond that and just cynical and don’t give a F$%^ anymore. after all if kaberle bombs it can only hasten the inevitable, one would think………… i don’t know the numbers but they could have probably singed wiz to a bloated contract for the money they are paying kaberle and campoli. a bird in hand is better than two in the bush. if habs can’t play hockey at least the reality tv show the team has become compels us to watch, with much disgust deserving of such a show.

  15. Hobo, you have always beena creative guy in many ways and now I realize just how much of a wordsmith you are too. Nice comments, and great point about Wiz. I always thought the guy was a great fit in Montreal – feisty, could get points, played with character, and like many fans, I was really sad to see him go. He would’ve helped this year, I have no doubt. About Kaberle, I wouldn’t be surprised if he played well tonight with all the adrenaline involved, but over the long run, I expect not a whole lot and basically, I hate this trade.

  16. I don’t know Dennis. Kaberle is certainly off to a good start with two points already.

    He seemed to play smoothly while executing smart, simple plays that resulted in goals.

    If he can keep doing that Pierre Gauthier is going to look like a genius.

    Maybe, just maybe he fits in to this team better than he did with the Bruins and Canes. And this vintage of Kaberle will be just what the Habs needed.

    Only time will tell.

  17. After beating the Devils today, the Habs are only one point away from a playoff spot and six points out of first place in the conference.

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