Tomas Kaberle was a little lighter on his skates when he hit the ice Thursday in Brossard.
“I feel a lot better than last year,” said Kaberle, who was carrying a few extra pounds when he reported to the Carolina Hurricanes training camp before last season.
Last season was a forgettable one for Kaberle, who started with the Hurricanes before being traded to the Canadiens in exchange for Jaroslav Spacek in December. Kaberle played only 29 games in Carolina – with no goals, nine assists and a minus-12 – after signing a three-year, $12.75-million free-agent contract. In 43 games with the Canadiens, he posted 3-19-22 totals and was minus-6.
While Kaberle wouldn’t say how many pounds he has lost, he said he had lost weight and was looking forward to the resumption of play in the NHL.
Kaberle, 34, broke into the NHL with Toronto in 1998-99 after being selected by the Maple Leafs in the eighth round (204th overall) at the 1996 entry draft.
Kaberle said Thursday that he’s not going to let speculation he will be bought out of his contract this summer weigh him down.
“Anybody can be bought out, but I don’t worry about things I can’t control,” he said. “I just want to play my game, move the puck forward and help this team make the playoffs.”
You can read Pat Hickey’s article on Kaberle from Thursday’s skate by clicking here.
Speaking of playoffs, The Canadian Press doesn’t think the Canadiens will be in them this season, predicting they will finish in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. You can read the preview by clicking here.
The Canadiens had both of their goalies on the ice Thursday, but neither of them played anywhere during the lockout. The Canadiens felt Carey Price might have benefitted from playing in Europe since he hasn’t played since being sidelined by a concussion late last season, but Price said he was happy with his off-season preparations.
“I thought I would be better off if I stayed in one place and got some rest,” said Price, who played 65 games last season. “I didn’t want to be travelling a lot. I went to Tri-Cities where I played junior and I worked out with them.”
Budaj, who played 17 games last season, also said it was too early to say whether he would have a heavier workload.
“It’s definitely going to be a tough schedule,” he said. “It’s going to be important for every player to stay fresh. It’s going to be up to the coaching staff and I’m sure they’re going to do what’s best. When the schedule comes out, we’ll sit down with the coaches and come up with some sort of plan.”
Read Hickey’s full report on the goaltending situation by clicking here.
One goaltender who lived through a lockout-shortened season is current Hockey Night in Canada analyst Kelly Hrudey, who was with the Los Angeles Kings in 1994-95 when a 48-game schedule was crammed into 104 days.
Hrudey talked with Chris Johnston of The Canadian Press about that experience. Read that story by clicking here.
(Photo by Dave Sidaway/The Gazette)