Every day, TheHubofHockey.net will be posting report cards for the 2010-11 NHL Stanley Cup Champions, the Boston Bruins.
Each day the three of us will break-down one player, in order of jersey number, from regular season to post season.
Today’s edition, defenseman Tomas Kaberle:
Name: Tomas Kaberle
Weight: 217 lbs.
Line Combinations (dobberhockey.com):
Even strength: Dennis Seidenberg 41.91% — Adam McQuaid 87.88% post season
Power Play: Seidenberg 41.91 % — Seidenberg 100% playoffs
2010-11 Regular Season Stats: In Boston: 24 GP 1-8–9, plus-6, 2 PIM, 31 SOG (82 GP, 4-43–47, plus-4, 18 PIM, 130 SOG)
2010-11 NHL Playoffs: 25 GP, 0-11–11, plus-8, 4 PIM, 33 SOG
Anthony’s Take: After a couple years of Kaberle to Boston rumors, the Bruins finally pulled the trigger and acquired the veteran defensemen from the Toronto Maple Leafs at the trade deadline. Kaberle was brought in to fix a struggling power play. He failed at doing so, and failed miserably. Bruins fans grew frustration with Kaberle as he became the new “Dennis Wideman”. Kaberle’s poor play continued into the first few rounds of the playoffs were he saw his playing time cut down at times. As the playoffs got deeper, Kaberle got better, he seemed to fit in more and start to understand the Bruins system. Kaberle did play very well in the Bruins seven-game-series victory in the Stanley Cup Finals. Kaberle tied Dennis Seidenberg for first in Bruins playoff points by a defensemen with 11. If the Bruins did not win the Cup this season, things could have gotten worse for Kaberle, luckily for him the Bruins did win the Cup, and his poor play has taken a backseat, for now.
Final Grade: C+
Tim’s Turn: For someone who was supposed to be the answer to the Bruins’ struggles on the power play — before coming to Boston — Tomas Kaberle was anything but the coveted puck-moving defenseman before Peter Chiarelli acquired him at the trade deadline from Toronto. While Kaberle tied for the team lead for assists (among Bruins defensemen), the ex-Maple Leaf lowered his stock value as a UFA during his tenure as a rental player in Beantown. Although his play picked up a bit in the later rounds, Kaberle’s minutes significantly decreased during the team’s run because of his sloppy defense and other inconsistencies on the blue-line.
It’s safe to say that Kaberle was a big disappointment, and even though he wants to stay for another year, many think his time in The Hub of Hockey has come to an end.
Final Grade: D
Marino’s Grade: One of my favorite players of all-time was Alexander Mogilny. During his time with the Maple Leafs, while skating alongside Mats Sundin in Toronto’s playoff runs (2002’ish) was something I was completely dialed in to. Watching Tomas Kaberle work the power play on the blueline with then-counterpart Bryan McCabe had made me a fan of theirs ever since. And when Kaberle was finally a Bruin, I was ecstatic. But shame on me for thinking this was the same player of a decade ago.
While it’s easy to follow the lead of Tim and Anthony here, and maybe being still a bit biased, I didn’t think Kaberle was nearly as bad as others deemed him to be. He never panned out to be that catalyst on the PP that the Bruins envisioned, but he did many things very well. He made handling the puck in the offensive zone and making plays on the blueline (like keeping the puck in the zone) rather effortless. He had great vision, soft hands, and could make those tape-to-tape passes with the best of them.
While he definitely picked a bad time of the year to play sub-par — in the playoffs and being an impending free-agent — he played his best by far in Game 6 against Vancouver. Being an NHL veteran of over 1,000 total career games — 955 of which were in Toronto before landing in The Hub — I wouldn’t shun at the notion of possibly bringing No. 12 back to see what he can do with some more time to adjust to Boston, its system, and the fans inside the TD Garden.
Final Grade: C+