Kaberle lighter on his skates this season

Tomasweb

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)

68 Comments

  1. HabsFan1111 says:

    I must say I’m a little surprised by all the Kaberle love on here, he picks up 50%+ of his points on the PP …. PP minutes that will be greatly reduced with Markov’s return.

    I guess it’s nice to have him on the second wave, but I see no way he keeps up a 0.5 ppg pace he’s been known for.

  2. Sakus Evil Twin says:

    Is it just me or is 3-19-22 and (-6) over 43 games on last years team, really that bad? I haven’t checked the comparables, but I think that Kaberle has something to offer.

    Forget what he’s ‘supposed to be’ or that contract – just looking at performance metrics only…

    No answers, just opinions. Bite me. Och.

    • commandant says:

      Its a near 45 point pace… something Kaberle has achieved in every season of his career (except for last year cause the Carolina numbers sucked).

      Take out those Carolina numbers and just look at those 22 points over 43 games, and he’s damn close to his normal 45 point pace on a team that was terrible.

      The number of D in the entire NHL who scored 45 points last year = 11 on 10 different teams. So yes, he’s got value.

      And looking at contract comparables…. 4.25 million for an elite offence, below average defensive D, is in the right range.

      Go Habs Go!
      Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
      http://lastwordonsports.com/

  3. piper says:

    Lets hope he’s not any lighter on his loafers.

  4. HabinBurlington says:

    MaxPac/DD/Cole
    Eller/Plex/Gionta
    Moen/Gomez/Bourque
    Prust/White/Armstrong

    PK/Gorges
    Emelin/Markov
    Cube/Kaberle

    Provided Galchenyuk isn’t on opening day roster.

    If he does stick with club to start, I think he starts on 2nd or 3rd line LW with perhaps Eller shifting to Center.

    MT made a comment awhile back mentioning the idea of using at Eller at wing. It is for that reason I see him starting on the left side where we lack depth.

    I also see MT giving Gomez a chance on the 3rd line, this season will be an experiment. I believe MB has enough leeway from Molson that this season will be a massive evaluation season.

    • rhino514 says:

      The lineup makes sense. The only thing is if you play Gomez in the top three and don´t stick him with grade A wingers (specially not with Moen), I fear that line will do absolutely nothing.
      With such a surplus of right wingers both on the club and ion the farm, Iit would not be so difficult to trade for a decent left winger, and problem solved.

      • HabinBurlington says:

        I think actually Moen is a very effective winger when on the 3rd line, he isn’t a goal scorer obviously, but he will pot a few and leads to an effective cycling of the puck.

        While Gomez has had 2 very forgetable seasons, MB/MT will give him some kind of opportunity if for no other reason than because of his contract, the amnesty buyout is not until summer, he is a veteran and they are a new regime. New Mgmt/coaches often feel they will know what it takes to rekindle or spark a player. I can also see a scenario where Gomez and Gionta get paired together but need a physical winger with them, this could be Bourque if he plays with physicality, but I expect it to be Moen or perhaps even Eller if still on wing.

        At the end of the day, I just really do believe that Molson is patient enough that he will allow MB/MT to do a great deal of experimenting this season.

        I also believe MB will be active in the trade market, but he still hasn’t seen these players under his watch and will want to do assessments before making trades.

  5. Habsman1970 says:

    I would have NO problem finishing at the bottom of the league again during this shortened season to get another top 3 pick. We need a couple of these as well as a few buy-outs to get us back on the right track.

    ONCE A HAB, FOREVER A HAB!!!

    • gourou04 says:

      If I’m not mistaken there are no advantages under the new CBA to finish at the very bottom of the rankings instead of at least trying your best for 8th seed and failing…
      So hoping for failure isn’t worth it anymore, and I’m glad for that.

  6. Marc10 says:

    I have zero expectations for this team in this shortened season. We’re still in a rebuild, but I think Therrien will extract value from a rag tag bunch.

    Was bored so I thought I’d rank the East.

    1) NYR
    2) Bruins
    3) Canes
    4) Flyers
    5) Pens
    6) Sabres
    7) Caps
    8) Sens
    9) Lightning
    10) Habs
    11) NYI
    12) Panthers
    13) Devils
    14) Jets
    15) Leafs

    From the Sens on down it’s a mad dash for the 8th spot I would imagine. Keen to hear from the HIO crowd…

    • SlovakHab says:

      Almost every team on the list has weaknesses or injury problems, and it’s a shortened season. Anything can happen in 48 games.

      Look at Bruins for example: Tuuka Rask their no.1 goalie is injured, Lucic is fat and out of shape.
      We know how shallow Flyers are on defence.
      Caps and their Hamrlik-related dressing room problems are a possibility.

      we could go on and on.

      I think that Habs winning the conference is as likely as finishing last. It will be a wide-open season and players that played hockey will have a big advantage. Whichever team is lucky to start with most players in game shape, in combination with injury-free season, will win the conference. I think it can be pretty much any team besides Islanders, Leafs, Panthers or Jets.

      Trades will happen too and these will shape teams.

  7. habsnyc says:

    A day after the BWAA elected no one to the Hall of Fame due rampant PED use, baseball announced it will begin testing for HGH. Meanwhile, the NHL remains the only professional sports league that does not test during the playoffs or during the off-season. On the rare occasions they do test, it is only for limited number of PED’s. Despite the fact that NHL players are much bigger, taller, faster and stronger than 10 years prior, despite the immense pressure players are under to return early from injury, and despite rampant PED use in every other professional sport, NHL players are condescending enough to think we believe them when they say that there are no PED’s in hockey.

    There is still no word on how much the NHL will continue to allow its players to cheat, setting the worst possible example for young players in high school. If the players have nothing to hide, then having the strictest drug testing in professional sports would not be an issue. But oddly enough, they seem to want the status quo of not being tested during the playoffs or offseason.

    Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

  8. immortalhab says:

    Gotcha- he’ll be signed right away though. Non?

  9. immortalhab says:

    Why is Subban not signed?

    Will anyone recognize the importance of Desharnais to the Canadiens line-up?

    • habsnyc says:

      When you finish last and half your team was in diapers last time you won the Cup, no one is important in the lineup. Subban is not signed because the players have not yet voted to accept the new CBA.

      Blue, blanc et rouge. Red and White for Canada. Blue for Smurfs.

    • HammerHab says:

      well, 2 reasons PK is not signed.

      1 – he was not signed before the last CBA expired
      2 – there technically is no CBA in place yet as the players havent voted on it.

      ———————————–

      It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

    • 44har48 says:

      I have two reasons as well:

      1) No CBA in place as we speak yet
      2) He thinks he is better and worth alot more money than he really is and might I remind him and anyone else, he has no leverge.

  10. commandant says:

    Kaberle can still put up points and move the puck. He’s a valuable player.

    Sure he isn’t a big hitter, or a great defensive player, but his biggest issue last season was the way Cunneyworth and Co. totally misused him.

    Pairing Kaberle and Campoli was one of the stupidest decisions they made. Kaberle really needs a steady, physical, stay at home defender beside him. Use two guys who compliment each other, instead of two small, soft puckmovers on the same pair.

    Bouillion doesnt have ideal siaze, but Bouillion and Kaberle should make a much better tandem than Campoli and Kaberle did.

    Go Habs Go!
    Check out Top Shelf Prospects, my Team by Team prospect reports
    http://lastwordonsports.com/

    • Habilis says:

      I agree 100%, well said.

      The way I figure it, if Kaberle can have a bounce back season he can be a very valuable asset for the club. If the team is in a playoff position come trade deadline day, then great and it probably means he’s playing well anyhow (I feel like everything has to click for them to get there). If they’re clearly not in the race, he could be attractive to an over-achieving team with room on the payroll, of which there are bound to be a few this year.

      I’m not saying I hope they move him because in my heart I’m rooting for the team to succeed as is, but I have a feeling that Kaberle will not be bought out in the summer, no matter where he is.

    • twilighthours says:

      I’m actually surprised that you see kaberle as valuable.

      And there was no one else to pair him with. That is on gauthier.

      And The biggest reason why there is no place for him in mtl.

    • Coach K says:

      Commandant…you are one of the few who have it right when it comes to Kaberle.

      I suspect hat most of his his critics here are blinded somewhat by their anti-leaf sentiments and I don’t blame them lol, but they haven’t looked at the facts. First off, I’m not a Kaberle apologist. I do agree that he is a soft d-man who should never have been paired up with Campoli. That (at least to me) was a coaching decision that was setting both players up for failure. However, why was he picked up? The answer is simple…injuries and because of that we needed an experienced puck moving defenceman who could quarterback a power play in the absence of Markov and could make a good outlet pass to kick-start the offence coming out of our own end. People complain about his lack of physical play – no argument here. But since coming to the Habs the facts show he’s averaged a point every second game (as a defenceman!) on one of the worst teams in the entire league last year. The are 1st and 2nd line forwards on contending teams who can’t do that consistently. And when you consider what you would have to pay to get a defenceman who can put up those kind of numbers then maybe his cap hit doesn’t look all that bad after all.

      The fact that he’s reported to camp in better shape this year suggests that he is more motivated than he was last season. If they’d pair him up with a conservative-type, physical stay-at-home d-man to offset his shortcomings I think most people would be pleasantly surprised.

      —–”This is the only thing that has seen more parties than us.”—–
      Steven Tyler, Aerosmith’s lead singer, after admiring the Stanley Cup…

    • Beaco says:

      Nailed it as you usually do.

  11. HABSGUARDIANANGEL says:

    thanks for the reminder that kaberle is still on this team. I think everyone agrees Gomez, bourque, and kaberle, need to be off this team ASAP! they are demons in desguise, trust me!

    Considering we already lost half a season, lets just jump ship now and go for another top 5 selection. gettind Drouin, or Mackinnon or Jones is so much better then finishing 8 or 9th.

    One more top 5 pick like that and I really like our chances! what do you think?

  12. JohnBellyful says:

    I don’t get it.
    Pierre Gauthier manages a team that finishes last in its conference. He’s named an adviser to the Black Hawks.
    The guy who advised him while the team sank to the bottom, Bob Gainey, is named an adviser to the Stars. A senior adviser, mind you, no longer a special one.
    And now this:
    Brian Burke’s team in Toronto never made the playoffs the three-and-a-half years he was the GM and he gets to stay on as an adviser to the Leafs.
    Heck, I’ve failed at lots of things and has anyone asked me for advice? Incredibly, no. Hey, if it’s lousy advice they’re looking for, I can give it to them in spades – at half the cost!
    Want proof? I think Gomez should be put back on the top line, Eller should centre the fourth line, and Subban should be offered a five per cent raise.
    And I think Budaj should start way more often – start earning his salary.
    If there’s any team out there looking for an adviser, you know where to reach me.

  13. SarahMc33 says:

    Ah crap, I had forgot about him…

  14. habsfan0 says:

    Is that a VIA train horn we’ll all be hearing for the first time since April?

    http://youtu.be/_APbBX6n1x0

  15. 24 Cups says:

    Tampa 5th and Winnipeg 8th? Buffalo down to 11th? Very interesting.

    • SlovakHab says:

      I don’t know what to think about the article…

      Tampa: “They added enigmatic winger Benoit Pouliot who should be good for his usual 15 goals.” – the season is shortened.

      Ottawa: “feisty Chris Neil will be boosted by a new contract.” – if contracts boosted players, Gomez is a superstar

      Pittsburgh: “Marc-Andre Fleury is all the goaltending they need.” – we saw that last season

      Habs: “Defence will be a strength” – show me one Habs fan who would actually agree with this.

      There is a lot in that article that makes me go hmmmmm.

    • savethepuck says:

      Where are these predictions coming from? Hope it’s not Sports Illustrated.

      “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
      Carey Price

  16. JohnBellyful says:

    Re: other thread.
    I hate shootouts. It turns a team sport into a one-on-one competition. It’s all a gimmick. Here’s another:
    Divide the shootout into distinct segments.
    First segment: Three forwards vs goalie and defenceman, 30 seconds to score, defending side can’t send puck out of own zone.
    Second segment: Forwards must use goaltender stick and goaltender must use regular stick
    Third segment: Forward must shoot with wrong hand and goalie switches blocker and glove to other hand, along with stick.
    Fourth segment (if necessary): Shooters for each side will be the team’s player who played less than 12 minutes and has the most penalty minutes for the season. Backup goalies in net
    Fifth segment (if necessary): A fan whose name is drawn at random gets to choose the shooter for the home team. A fan of the visiting team, identifiable by the jersey s/he’s wearing, is chosen by way of a draw to select the shooter for the visitors. All names are collected before the game starts.
    Continue this format until a winner is decided. The fan who chose the winning shooter for the local team gets a ticket to the next home game (if the fan picked the winning shooter for visitors, he gets an escort home).

    • HardHabits says:

      I have a better idea. Over-time should be played without hockey sticks. Only skates can be used to kick the puck into the net. Another variation is to use a ball instead of a puck and require that it has to be bounced with the gloves on the ice to move forward. The ball has to be thrown into the net however forward passing would not be allowed.

      • JohnBellyful says:

        I dunno. Sounds kinda radical. And a bit gimmicky. The league would never go for it. Maybe try it for a season in the AHL.

      • aroma says:

        I have a better idea. Extend regular season overtime to ten minutes. Keep it at five on five, no gimmicks. If the game is still tied after that, then the game is a tie. If one team scores, they get the two points, the loser gets none. Old school, back to the old format, but the fans get up to ten extra minutes of real hockey which should appease them if the result turns out to be a “like kissing your aunt” tie. Best of all, no more three point games.

  17. Sean Bonjovi says:

    I’m a little surprised that there weren’t like ten trades the second GMs were allowed to make deals. I would have figured that someone would have been negotiating something over the last four or five months.

  18. Marc10 says:

    Kabby can make a good first pass and is a safe pair of hands on the PP. To be effective he’ll need to be light on his skates, so I’m happy he’s figured that much out.

    Like the rest he should get the benefit of the doubt. I would imagine he’s in a dogfight with Diaz, Webber, St Denis and Cube for the last two spots… His contract and pedigree get him the leg up. I hope he delivers.

  19. savethepuck says:

    Whether you see Kaberle in the Habs future or not. Whether you think he will have a good season or not. It is in all fans best interests for him to have a great season. A good season by him means two things;
    1) the Habs will be a better team for it
    2) his trade value will drastically increase allowing us to get better assets in a trade.

    I hope nobody is hoping he sucks so they can say “I told you so”.

    P.S. I like how autocorrect changes sucks to ducks. Caught it twice

    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

    • Habitoba says:

      Totally agree. I suppose the same could be said about a couple others *cough* Do I even have to mention his name? *cough*

      sucks

      (I just wanted to test the auto-correct)

    • HardHabits says:

      Who would that? Regardless of whether or not I was right about Tanking™, I am sure nobody would want Kaberle to suck. If he sucks though it’ll be another piece in the puzzle to getting a high draft pick.

      • savethepuck says:

        I assure you that at no point in my reference to the “I told you so” club, I was referring to you. There are posters on here that are very negative IMO and like to say it when they get lucky due to circumstances, and end up being right. I fully respected your opinions last season as meaning you didn’t want the organization to mortgage the future for a short term gain because I agree with that.
        I also had no problem with you saying build through the draft. However I also think that you got on the tank campaign too early but were proved right because of circumstances regarding injuries etc…I am more than happy that we got Gally because of the crappy season even though time will tell how great he will be( my hopes are very high based on what I’ve seen ).

        “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
        Carey Price

  20. kempie says:

    So how many starts does Price get this year? 47?

  21. CCL says:

    Kaberle averaged 40 points per year or better through out his career what more can you ask of him. so he had couple of years with less points. give him a chance. he may surprise ….

  22. Bill says:

    *REPOST from the thread that died moments ago.

    I was bored, so I went through the stats.

    Through January, Price went 1-6 in shootouts. That obviously created the perception that he was bad in shootouts last year. I would actually point specifically to early December, the first four games of the month, when the Habs went to a shootout three times our of the four games and lost them all. At that point, we were all saying how bad he was in shootouts.

    Over the second half, however, Price went 4-2 in shootouts. We just didn’t really notice because the Habs were basically done.

    FTR, Budaj went 0-4 in shootouts over the season. Price went 5-8 overall. So the Habs went 5-12, not Price, as someone suggested below.

    Again, he wasn’t great in shootouts, but if we’re looking at shootouts, I think the stat to look at is shooting percentage, where the Habs were 26th. That’s yer trouble.

    Full Breezer 4 Life

  23. Say Ash says:

    lol lighter on his skates?

    It’s Spacek the sequel!

  24. Bill J says:

    Ill be first to say Kaberle will have a great season.


    Go Habs Go!

  25. HammerHab says:

    How can you expect something from someone that they have never done? Kaberle has always been a pass first guy who isn’t a shot-blocker or crease-clearer. It’s like saying you want Hal Gill to score more goals and be a dominant PP presence. Yeah it’d be nice but its beyond any reasonable expectaions based on past performance.

    ———————————–

    It’ll always be Habs Inside/Out to me

  26. savethepuck says:

    Well said. There are very few DMen who can fulfill all the necessary attributes we want on D, IMO we have two of them that can satisfy most of the requirements. That’s Marky and PK. They both play huge minutes 5 on 5 along with PK and PP, mind you I am referring to Marky’s minutes and abilities as pre injury. DMen that can do all of these things usually can’t also clear the crease and kick the crap out of people. Souray was close, but I am sure most would agree he was weak defensively.

    “They don’t hang Conference Championship Banners from the rafters here”
    Carey Price

  27. HardHabits says:

    Now he’ll be even easier to move off the puck. You’d think some athletes would come back to camp saying things like, “I packed on more muscle, made sure I worked on my flexibility and have more speed, strength and endurance than ever before” rather than say, “I worked off all that fat I was carrying around.”


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