Kaberle? Really???


Tomas Kaberle was NOT the catalyst that ignited Boston’s power-play after the Bruins had paid dearly to acquire him.
He’s been a bust in Carolina.
But with Andrei Markov still rehabbing and a Hab-not PP,  general manager Pierre Gauthier felt compelled to make a move that smacks of desperation.

There are now two clear-cut criteria for being GM of the Montreal Canadiens:

* The candidate must speak French.
* He must own a hazardous-materials suit to handle the toxic contracts this team is carrying on its books.
Carolina signed Kaberle to a three year contract for $4.25 million per.
On the Canadiens burgeoning roster of guys on the wrong side of 30 who are signed long-term for big $$$, Kaberle joins the poster child for toxicity,  Scott Gomez; Andrei Markov, who’s playing Tiny Tim in the team’s production of A Christmas Carol;  and the two players who are earning their money (so far): Brian Gionta and Erik Cole.
Will Kaberle help the ailing PP?
He didn’t in Boston.
And the pedigree! Kaberle played for the Leafs AND Bruins, who, from a Canadiens fan’s perspective, are Hamas and Hezbollah.
How will his contract – plus the other flock of albatrosses – affect the Canadiens’ ability to sign Carey Price, P.K. Subban, Josh Gorges, Max Pacioretty and Lars Eller?
I don’t want to think about it.
On the bright side … OK, on the not-quite-as-dark side, Gauthier did not have to give up an important asset and/or a draft choice.
Jaro Spacek is a great guy who will be missed by his teammates and the media. And it sucks that his family is being uprooted two weeks before Christmas.
But that’s hockey.
And if Tomas Kaberle helps bring a Stanley Cup to …


  1. SHUTTemDOWN says:

    So Canadien fans =Israel (innocence)
    Leafs+Bruins= Hezbollah/Hamas(evil)
    I’m pissed at the useless trade too…but please leave that bloody Middle East out of it.
    Poor, distasteful comparison.
    How ’bout Leafs+Bruins=Sh*t and Sh*ttier

    “The sh*t is CHESS!NOT CHECKERS.”

  2. immortalhab says:

    Un Canadien, I enjoyed your post. I think that hockey and it’s values are so different from a few generations ago to now — you hear all this talk of fights and free agents, people don’t know what it’s about anymore and the Don Cherry mentality is spreading like cancer.

    No one lives the Canadiens more than me. When I see how the team is managed now, I feel that our history is being shit on (many may disagree but as a French-Canadien myself who grew up in a sea of Anglos, the Habs were our pride, our bragging rights, our testament that we are as good as anybody) I actually feel like we should end the franchise out of respect for the team, the history, the legends and true fans. It’s like having a grandpa you’re really proud of who you don’t want to let go of when its his time to be buried so you have him stuffed and leave him in the living room chair. He’ll never be as great as he was and now that he’s freeze framed, everyone compares their younger grandpa to him.

    I love Mtl but I’d rather celebrate a great history than see guys like Kovalev, Kaberle and other know-nothings-about-our-team wear our logo. Who wants to be a side-show like the Maple Griefs?

    Besides, if we respectfully buried the team we loved, rest assured we will always be known as the team with the most Stanley Cups.

    • --Habs-- says:

      That’s part of the problem and culture! The media places all kinds of demands on the franchise especially the French media. The manager must speak French. The coach’s must speak French. Is it a nice to have as a pre-req! Sure! I couldn’t care less if the Coach and Manager spoke only Hebrew or in Tongues. Who cares when we win! Hire interpreters! Do I give a crap if we can’t interview Emelin! Eventually they will learn! When I worked in Columbia and didn’t speak Spanish nobody cared! Why? I delivered a service they needed and did a good job and delivered what they paid for! Its simple! Think of this! If we could have the Habs of 76 with the record they had and the Coach was from the Congo and used to raise cattle would you care if he knew what he was doing? Of course if we would all second guess his knowledge but if he brought home a cup, would you care?

  3. ralphkim says:

    Well, things get worse.. I prefer Weber on the PP …His cost is likely 100$ a goal vs 2.2 Million q goal which is no more than 2 goals .. Anyhow… I was hoping that we might get a younger, robust player …KAberle is not going to help// I would be glad to eat those words ..
    I hate Leafs and we go and take a player they thought was soft and could not help them..

  4. LTHF says:

    Well folks if we didnt know before we certainly know now the quality of management running the Habs. We now have two former leafs on the D and the habs are heading down the road to futility, the same as the leafs were with those 2 players. Its difficult to watch whats happening with this team, especially being a avid follower for 60+ years.

  5. Bill says:

    @ Un Canadiens Errant. OMG. Bludgeoned? Disconsolate? You had to lie on the floor and moan? Seriously, I think you need lithium. You’re displaying what I regard as medical symptoms. Also, following a hockey team might be too emotional for you, at least by the looks of this angsty, emo, incredibly overwrought and tear-stained essay.

    • DorvalTony says:

      Thank you Dr. Recchi.

      “The fish is rotten from the head.”

    • Un Canadien errant says:

      Sorry Bill if my contribution seems a little maudlin. It is a little barebones, a mere outline I dashed off, as clearly indicated, because I didn’t have the energy to put together a proper post describing how I really feel about this trade. I’ll see Dr. Burgess soon about a prescription, maybe you’re right. He’ll probably tell me to spend a little more time on my snowboard, instead of in front of my plasma watching the Glorieux on a Saturday morning.

      How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?


  6. Bill says:

    Has everyone changed their diaper yet? Or are we still sobbing and rending out garments?

  7. Un Canadien errant says:

    I’m too tired to really discourse on the Tomas Kaberle trade today.


    Tired and stunned. Bludgeoned. I was glancing at the headlines on the Globe website, and felt a cold chill when I saw the news. I, literally, had to lie down, and, no lie, moaned for a while, like I had a bad hangover, and I swore repetitively, catatonically. No exaggeration, it wasn’t theatre. I needed to. Tomas Kaberle. I triple-checked that it wasn’t April 1.

    I sat around all day, disconsolate, glancing at my computer, dreading the monumental task ahead of me. I just had a framework in my mind of the many reasons why this was a colossal blunder for my favourite team. My team. I don’t own the Canadiens, Mr. Geoff Molson and his group of investors owns it, along with BCE. But it’s my team. Mine.

    I wanted to intro with a reference to the Jerry Seinfeld quip that nowadays, in this era of player movement and free agency and salary caps (spit), we don’t really cheer for a team, but cheer for the laundry. Go into a further disquisition how the jersey has become a brand, and those who are cloaked with them are merely replaceable cogs. Raymond Bourque is a Colorado Avalanche, and we’re supposed to cheer when he ‘gets his Cup’. Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter are snakebitten superstars who for some reason never could win or gain full respect. Somehow. Guy Lafleur decided to quit smoking, cut down on the blow, and make a comeback with the Rangers. Celebration time. LeBron James. Terrell Owens. Randy Moss. Adam Oates. Chris Pronger.

    I was going to go over my formative years, and how I knew every Montreal Canadiens player, with their jersey numbers, as well as those numbers that are retired. I would rattle off the Expos’ rosters, the teams whose games I used to listen to on CKAC broadcasts with Jacques Doucet and Claude Raymond, Cromartie, Dawson, Valentine, Rodney Scott and Chris Speier, Larry Parrish, Steve Rogers, Tim Gullickson, Dave Palmer, Scott Sanderson. Bill Lee with his beard, fuller and wilder than Steve Rogers’. I would talk about the Alouettes and how so many of the players spoke French, even the anglos, I wanted to grow up big and strong just like them. Dickie Harris. Randy Rhino. Tony Proudfoot. Gabriel Grégoire. Junior Ah You. Glen Weir.

    I was then going to talk about heroes, the people I looked up to as a kid, and how today’s generation don’t have that. For them, training camp doesn’t start every year with the same heroes as the previous year; I might have had maybe a couple of new young guys vying for my worship, but it was the same team. I knew that the Canadiens were the best team, but they didn’t win every game, they were human, but they tried hard every game. They conquered evil, Bruins, Flyers, Nordiques, it didn’t matter. The Expos were young and had promise, and would win, if it wasn’t for friggin’ Dale Murphy and Willie Stargell and Dave Parker. Rick Monday. They’d win eventually, you just had to work harder. Believe. The Alouettes were the best, except that the Eskimos had this freaky quarterback, Warren Moon, who could throw the ball like you couldn’t believe, my father would get all excited about his short delivery, even if he was on the wrong team. They also had this weird receiver, Brian Kelly, with a squeaky high voice, and he didn’t look like much, but he killed us. You learned a lot from all this.

    I’d then circle back to Tomas Kaberle, how he’d been a Maple Leaf forever, how it was shoved down my throat for so long how on the one hand he was such a great offensive defenceman but on the other how the Leafs forever tried to trade him but couldn’t find any suckers to take him off their hands. How I don’t necessarily even dislike the Leafs, but I hate the undeserved focus on them, I’m living out in BC now and have to listen to English broadcasts, and man am I sick of hearing how this year, this is the year they make the playoffs, every year, year after year. But now I do dislike the Leafs, they have these criminals playing for them, Tie Domi and Wade Belak and Darcy Tucker. Marchment. Now I do kind of hate them. And I hate this lazy, passionless defenceman they have, that guy with the red cheeks who looks like he’s twelve years old. The guy who routinely skates back to his bench after a goal against, impassive, after letting some guy stickhandle around him and beat him like a meringue. I hate how they talk him up but he’s so obviously incapable and lacking emotion.

    I’d have to touch on his brief stay in Boston, and then Carolina, how both teams were hornswaggled into believing the Big Lie that he’s the poor man’s Phil Housley. I’d have to give props to Brian Burke, who simultaneously built up and undercut his man, dangling him forever as trade bait, but never getting anywhere near his asking price, to my delight, until the Bruins bit. I thought Mr. Burke should have been happy with a 2nd round pick to unload this stiff, but he got a bounty for him eventually. The Bruins got fleeced, the Leafs improved, I was conflicted.

    I’d have to stipulate, as if this wasn’t obvious enough already, that there are players who have disqualified themselves from ever wearing the bleu blanc rouge. Sean Avery. Ken Linseman. Jordin Tootoo. Nevin Markwart. Brad Marchand. Pavel Bure. Tomas Kaberle is obviously on this lengthy list of Untouchables.

    If I had any resolve left by this point, I would have to talk about how this trade is horribly detrimental to our goal of winning a Stanley Cup. How Erik Cole was an example of a free-agent signing that has worked, while Mr. Kaberle was the posterboy for horrible wastes of cap space, how Carolina GM Jim Rutherford was already offering his mea culpas about it. I’d have to explain how this contract was going to hamstring the Canadiens for three seasons, while we needed cap space to go after impact free agents and sign our own.

    I’d have to touch on how whatever skills he had were rapidly abandoning him, how 33 year-old players who were losing their touch were a bad investment, that we should have learned the lesson by now that you invest in young players, you buy low and sell high. Get players before they peak (<25), unload them, if necessary, while they’re still producing (>30).

    I’d have to bring up the poorly conceived tactical plan, how Mr. Kaberle is a passer, not a shooter like Mathieu Schneider, Marc-André Bergeron or James Wisniewski who fixed our powerplay in previous seasons. That our forwards are not deadly snipers who can finish his passes, that they know this and have lost confidence and pass the puck like a hot potato instead of slavering for it, in eagerness to score the winning goal and pad their stats. That opposing penalty killers would not challenge Tomas Kaberle like they did to Tomas Plekanec and dare him to shoot.

    I might have got myself all riled up that Mr. Gauthier had ignored my frequent posts encouraging him to trust our trio of young defencemen and invest our organization’s energy into preparing them for the future. instead of quick fixes, like he listened to me when I advised him to let Roman Hamrlik go and to re-sign Andrei Markov. I might have but I figure by then I might have been dejected and apathetic, and wonder why I’d bother.

    How about it NHL? No fighting, just hockey?


  8. badbalance says:

    Cant believe im going to tell my future kids Kaberle won the cup for us…

  9. Wayne says:

    I get a kick out of this site. The newer Kaberle thread is jammed with 1300 + posts and I can’t access it which only means one of two things. One; the first time they used this server, our houses had stone windows, wood planks for a door and a Sabre-tooth tiger was the pet of choice. The more likely scenario is, that Mike Boone has send out the cyber-zambonis to clean the filth off the floor left by a few bad dogs with trigger happy colons that, through no fault of their own, were wired to close to their frontal lobe at birth.

    Having thought about this swap for a few hours, I kinda like it. I’ll even go out on a limb and assume Mr. Kaberle will thrive back in Canada and surprise many. That is of, of course, he doesn’t drown in all the hype and uses his other skill he learned in Toronto keep an even keel when it comes to the media attention here. Goodbye Spatch, thatnks for pouring it all out but I never thought you were that good. If fact, on kost nights last year, he was as much a liability as Gomez is/was/ and will be, until the flame on his contract dies out.

  10. DickandDanny says:

    Emelin will be in one of Montreal’s 3 D pairings. This guy is too good to sit out. he has out played virtually every other Montreal D man this past month, and is getting better each time out. And, he hits. No leaving him out of the line-up, and anyone who thinks that either does not watch the team on a regular basis, or does not know raw talent when they see it. This guy will be really good in short time. Kind of reminds me of Guy Lapointe, when he came up, so now if he can start improving his offensive play, that would be a bonus.

    I dislike kaberle as much as almost every poster on here and I always have. Lousy Leaf. I too hate the fact we just ate another fat contract for a team that wanted to ditch a poor performer services. What is it with that strategy anyway? Do we think we are going to get a trophy catch every time we rescue one of these guys from some other team. Lets hope it works this time, and I will give it some time, and maybe he will win me over, but I’m not holding my breath. Also, if this trade fails I do believe that will be it for the Ghost in Montreal.

    “A cannonading blast from the wing, by Lafleur”

  11. moester says:

    While the move had the potential to be a dud; this is not a desperation move IMO. A desperation move would have been putting a package together to get a big name. While Spacek is a great guy he is also unable to bring more than 10-12 minutes any more than that and he is overwhelmed. Kaberle had a good season last year before going to bean town and in spite of being minus 12 he is on pace for a 35 point season which isn’t bad. Let’s remember who else had a horrible +/- before coming onto the team last year.

    If Kaberle does well he becomes a valuable and tradable asset! He also gives us a real top 4 if he plays like he can. If we get healthy we actually have one of the best defensive brigades in the east with some valuable pieces to trade away if necessary.

    I am much more worried about the return of Gomez than I am the coming of Kaberle.

    • rwp1990 says:

      OK -let’s simplify
      does Kabs have better hands and wheels than Spacey?
      Is Kabs younger and healthier than Spacey?
      so what exactly is the down side?
      they are both soft and overpaid but it should be obvious which of the two is the better player
      given the choice you would take the better player, right?
      a little support for the fact that effort is being made to correct a major issue would help more than everybody bashing everything that PG and JM do…stay positive – the team has shown over and over again they can compete and it will just get better

      Bob in Ottawa
      c’est le but!

    • DorvalTony says:

      Ugh Nomez, I had actually forgotten about *that.* Self hypnosis I guess.

      “The fish is rotten from the head.”

      • nunacanadien says:

        I don’t know what the Molsons and Gauthier and company are doing. The only thing I can think is they are out to give the finger to the Quebec Government with these recent trades. Honestly, I know the Molsons have a proud former hockey dynasty in the old man, but the kids, they know nothing of hockey. Scott Gomez as the main problem in that he has a big fat contract for two more years! While he is no longer a big cap hit, he is still a sizeable cap hit. Having him in the lineup doesn’t give Martin much choice but to go back to the horribly boring and losing five on five style of hockey, the five position formation, that cost us the cup last year, the five man formation as Martin likes to call it or something weird like that, always having five men in the picture of the play, what the heck does that mean? It equals the winning Olympic hockey formula of old, where Canadians played their position and held their position and moved as a formation up the ice. The only team that could pull that off really well was the old Red Army team of Kharlamov, but the habs are not the old Red Army team, we have no Kharlamov and how can superstars like Cole excel if he is forced to revert back to triple A hockey? That is all Martin is, he is not a proven NHL cup winner, sure he did really well one year with the Senators but that was largely because the Senators could afford to buy rental players that year that could score and win in spite of being forced to play a position. While the rest of the league crashes the net, Martin’s style of play forces the habs to shove the puck at the goalie from a distance. The recent goal scoring streaks have largely come when the habs broke from their pattern of play and actually scored. You could see that when Pearn was fired when Martin was reeling from that and the habs played a free for all style of play the day Pearn was fired and they won. Now that things have quieten down Martin has the habs back to their horrible five man formation which deters superstars like Subban from scoring and encourages wimps to excel. But at least with a player like Emelin you could give the other team a rough going. Imagine if the habs had an offensive minded coach with the likes of Emelin and Cole and Subban, and a quarterback like Cammy…..just imagine…..but alas we are owned by Molson who believes in the Gainey experiement to see if small european type players can excel…..doomed to fail until Gainey retires….how many more years do we have to endure this?

  12. t1tan5 says:

    Mike, I know you’re not paid to be objective, but your post is pretty much identical to the nattering nabob of negativity (3N) posts that litter this site. Come on, man! Look at a few plus points: Kaberle, while having a couple years left on his contract, is FOUR years junior to Spacek. Therefore by the end of the deal, Kaberle will still be younger than Spacek is now. Spacek has not been effective at all this season and neither has Kaberle. Maybe a change of scenery is exactly what the doctor ordered for the two Czech defensemen. If Kaberle returns to pre-Boston form, this deal would be a friggin steal. He will be put in a situation where he won’t have to play in all scenarios. He is here for a purpose (PP and 5 v 5 breakout) whereas in Carolina, he was the end-all be-all guy. He will play manageable minutes on the second pairing (third when Markov comes back) and on the first PP wave (second when Markov comes back). I think he has been placed in a favourable situation where he can succeed.

  13. ponyboy says:

    Spacek two assists tonite for the canes, one on the PP. Go figure….

    • nunacanadien says:

      Why couldn’t he do that all the friggen time? Same with Kaberle? So what have we done? Changed the scenery for two countrymen of Kaberle and Spacek, musical chairs and a cap hit for the habs for three more years. At least with Spacek he had less time on his contract. I don’t know what Gauthier is thinking. When the habs were getting tougher, we sign a peaceful quiet defenseman. At least Spacek could provide the odd offensive hit every now and then before he ran out of gas has way through…..so we trade one lazy Czech for another lazy Czech. So goes the horrible year of the Gauthier…..destroying any room left over to sign any potential great scorer. So we finally got some toughness but now we can’t afford to sign a big time scorer. What Gauthier hopes to trade some of our youth yet again? What package can Gauthier give us? What miracle can he perform, perhaps convince Scott Gomez to find a team he is willing to be traded to and who would want his contract and laziness?

  14. AceMagnum says:

    Boone is the only reason to visit HIO

    Boone rules!

  15. AceMagnum says:

    Gauthier is a fool! I mean what number is Kaberle gonna wear?? 15 & 51 are taken!! Doesn’t he think about things like that??!! A good GM would have had the decency to trade Desharnais (sorry I meant DD) & Nokelainen first!!

    I give up. Screw you Molson I’m glad I don’t drink beer. Drugs are enough for me

  16. --Habs-- says:

    I give up! I’ve been living in Boston long enough to start changing my priorities

  17. Habster says:

    My fear is what is this excuse of a GM going to pull next..trade maxpac, PK, emelin, price… Does he have any idea how these guys are going to be signed ? What a bonehead move..disgraceful…I would rather they did nothing, played the young guys and got a good pick…this team is in trouble, now, and in the forseeable future.. MOLSON, PG AND MARTIN..thank you for nothing

  18. smiler2729 says:

    So who takes our garbage (Gomez contract)?

    Jack Edwards sucks chowdah chunks

  19. gohabsjoe says:

    I like Kaberle s puck moving skills but his heart troubles me.

    We don’t wanna see Maurice we wanna see the ROCKET

  20. gohabsjoe says:

    I meant bum

  21. gohabsjoe says:

    Im confused with the Nina 76 post

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