Kaberle has 'mixed feelings' on Leafs' return

Kaberle has 'mixed feelings' on Leafs' return

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.comTORONTO The stage is set for Tomas Kaberle to have a memorable, explosive performance in his first game back at the Air Canada Centre as a visiting NHL player.The 33-year-oldBruins defenseman has three assists and is a plus-5 in 12 games since getting dealt to Boston for Joe Colborne, a first round pick and a conditional draft pick last month, and has soaked up nearly 22 minutes of ice time per night as a stalwart member of the blueline corps.But the sputtering power play is mired in a 2-for-32 stretch since Kaberles arrival, and thus far the All-Star level defenseman hasnt been the cure to all of Bostons special teams ills. Since it was theexpress purpose that Kaberle was brought into Boston to begin with,the struggle to score on the man advantage hasbeen a bit eyebrow-raising.It certainly isnt the puck-moving defensemans solefault, but tonights game against his old Leafsteam would be the right kind ofsetting for both player and power play unit to explode on the scene.Kaberle and David Krejci both know that its time for them to shoot the puck a little bit more and perhaps do a little of the unexpected to set things in motion, and then ride the momentum once its been kick-started. Both players are known for their deft passing abilities, and penalty kill units are playing way off both skaters right now.At this point the kick start is whats required for a little 5-on-4 effectiveness, and a little confidence in Boston's special teams.We scored 5-on-3 a couple of games ago, but obviously 5-on-4 its been a while, said Krejci. We got a post last game, but each guy myself included needs to do a slightly better job.I need to shoot the puck a little more, Kaberle same thing where he needs to shoot a little more, Chara needs to try to shoot it with the purpose of scoring goals, said Krejci. Lucic needs to be around the net and pick up the rebounds right around the goal line. Its just a little bit that each guy is missing, but I think the power play is going to be good once we get it going. We have the guys. Were going to be good.The Bruins will need a functioning power play for a long playoff run and they require a convincing victory after losing five of their last six games, and doing it in front of the Hockey Night in Canada audience would certainly not lack for dramatic effect. Kaberle said he has mixed feelings about returning to the Leafs organization where he was drafted and developed, and he can understand the kinds of hopeless feeling in the other room now that Torontos flickering playoff hopes are nigh impossible.Its mixed feelings, said Kaberle. Being here for so long and being in that position that the Leafs are in right now is difficult. Obviously everybody has done it before and been traded, so hopefully its going to be a fit in Boston.Tonight Ill do my best for Boston and hopefully well get the two points, said Kaberle. Were just focusing on the game, and not looking at the long run of what we do or what Toronto will do. We just want to win a hockey game and play smart. We have 12 games left and we want to play good hockey going into the playoffs.Claude Julien understood that returning to Toronto would be a big deal for a lifelong Leafs player like Kaberle, and also revealed that the Bs are beginning to see some of the defensemens personality behind the scenes.I think hes excited to be back here. I havent heard him say anything bad about the organization. He was treated well by Toronto, has a lot of respect for the organization and I think hes excited, said Julien. We feel our transition game has improved with Kaberle and we feel like hes made the players around him better. The one thing about Tomas is that he spent close to a dozen years in Toronto and its his first time with another organization. Hes trying to fit in. He wants to fit in, and were going to give him time to do that.When you see him playing you can tell that he wants to be part of the solution. I like his attitude and I like his approach. I have a feeling that hell only get better as we move on here.Andrew Ference will be game time decision for Claude Julien after taking part in the optional skate with the Bruins at Air Canada Centre, but it appears that the veteran defenseman will be back in the lineup for the first time since Feb. 26. Julien lambasted Steve Kampfer after Bostons overtime loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night, and Ference looks like his lower body injury has healed enough to play.Hes going to be a game time decision, said Julien. If hes in the lineup hes a player with some experience, and hes been very good for us this year. Hes been consistent and he had a good year until the injury set him back.Tim Thomas was the first goaltender off during the optional morning skate, and should be getting the starting nod after Tuukka Rask made back-to-back starts against the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators.Tyler Seguin didnt have much of a reaction to the 2500 fine given to Patric Hornqvist on Friday after catching an elbow to the left ear lobe and simply said that he supported the league trying to get head shots out of the game.

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.