For those who would rather see Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle traded for a bag of pucks than in the lineup for Game 5 are going to be very disappointed.
Today after Boston’s morning skate, head coach Claude Julien reiterated that the former Maple Leaf will be dressed and ready to go for tonight’s match-up against the Tampa Lightning.
“Well, I think if you know the game well enough, you would understand that there’s some experience back there. And you’ve got to also think: ’Is that guy coming in a better player than Kaberle?’ And the other thing we’ve done is some people wanted certain players out of the lineup earlier on, and our patience has paid off. And I don’t know why we decide that we should be taking him out of the lineup when there’s other players, too, that have struggled. I don’t know. We haven’t talked about that. That’s because we have patience, that we believe in those guys.”
Kaberle was directly responsible for the Bolts’ second goal in Game 4 after playing part rag-doll and part ballerina against Sean Bergenheim on a one-on-one puck possession race and battle behind the net of Tim Thomas.
“And Kaberle, last game, that second goal, maybe loses the puck, but our system calls for support on that. And our support was but wasn’t there. So according to our system, he’s not the only one to blame,” added the bench boss.
Julien adds his utter support of No. 12, and one costly gaffe is not the end of the world.
“The last winning goal, he blocks a shot, makes a great play. He’s trying to get off the ice. We turn the puck over, so do we keep blaming Kaberle?” he said. “I think people are a little hard on this guy. And I’m one of those guys that’s going to support him. I’m one of those guys that’s going to keep him in the lineup, in case you want to know. And he’s going to be a good part of our hockey team. We got him because we believe in him, and until last game he played two really good games. So that’s how we see Kaberle.”
No matter how much the Bruins gave up for the 33-year-old blueliner, the coaches really have no other choice.
Option A: Shane Hnidy, who has averaged just over three minutes per game in his three-game playoff stint this year. Or,
Option B: Rookie Steven Kampfer, who is still battling back from a knee injury, has zero NHL post season experience, and hasn’t appeared in an NHL game since Mar. 31 against Toronto.