Kaberle ready for a "special" night vs B's


Kaberle ready for a "special" night vs B's

By Joe Haggerty

RALEIGH Tomas Kaberle has viewed some photos of the Stanley Cup championship rings snapped by his former Bruins teammates, but the Carolina Hurricanes defenseman isnt in possession of his Cup bauble quite yet.

Kaberle signed with the Hurricanes during the free agency period in July after a rocky road in Boston that ended happily in Stanley Cup glory, but the much-maligned blueliner still has fond memories of his friends and feats with the Bruins.

I saw the ring ceremony on TV and I texted a few of the guys, and they showed me pictures, said Kaberle. It was fun to see. Obviously its a new season, but you always keep in touch with the players that youve played with before.

The puck-moving defenseman thinks hell be receiving his Stanley Cup champ ring next week when the Hurricanes travel to TD Garden for the rematch, and that seems only fitting.

Kaberle had nine points in 24 regular games with the Bruins during his time with Boston last year, but also served as the point man on a sputtering power play that finished as one of the worst in Stanley Cup playoff history. His role had diminished as the playoffs rolled on, but he still made a handful of plays that helped the Bruins win their Cup. The stretch pass he threw to Michael Ryder against the Habs in Game 3 of their first round heavyweight bout was one of Kaberles biggest moments in 25 up and down postseason games.

Plays like that and a day with the Cup in the Czech Republic that included spending plenty of time with countrymen David Krejci have allowed Kaberle to only remember the good things in Boston.

The Bs defensemen singled out Gregory Campbell, Shawn Thornton, Zdeno Chara and Krejci as the players he made the strongest connections with during his time in Boston, but spoke glowingly of team dinners down the stretch that had a constant flux of different Bs teammates on a given night. That kind of thing smashed cliques and barriers, and was a big reason the Bruins hung together when things got dicey in the postseason.

I had a great time. They were great guys to me from the first day, and thats what you play for at the end of the day. Its going to be a special game me playing against them tonight, said Kaberle, who is manning Carolinas top power play unit. It was a short summer, but its nice to see everybody happy on the opposition. Hopefully we have a good game tonight.

The former Leafs and Bruins defensemen said hes truly moved on to Carolina after only six months in the Black and Gold, and his veteran touch on the power play has been added to a young, fast group of hungry players still looking to gel this year.

I love it here. There are some great teammates and a good young team. Its a fast team, said Kaberle. We havent been able to win a hockey game yet, so tonight would be a nice test for us to play against Boston a great hockey team. Hopefully we can get up on top of them for two points tonight.

We have to get more pucks to the net tonight especially if Timmy Thomas is in net because hes a very good goalie.

As Kaberle himself mentioned Carolina is also a winless team, and the 33-year defenseman isnt off to a stupendous start however with zero points and a minus-3 in three games while averaging over 20 minutes a night. On a Carolina team thats struggled mightily to keep the puck out of their net Kaberle hasnt been a big help thus far.

It would appear that both Kaberle and his new Hurricanes teammates will be hungry against the visiting Bruins and itll be up to Boston to match the intensity thatll most certainly be there for a desperate hockey team.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Morning Skate: Do Caps have mental block come playoff time?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while thinking about and praying for the people of Manchester, England. It’s obviously an evil, cowardly act to bomb any public place, but to do it at a concert filled with women and children is the lowest of the low.

*The Capitals players are acknowledging that there’s some kind of mental block with the Stanley Cup playoffs. CSN Mid-Atlantic has all the details.

*It’s been a very odd postseason for the NHL where there are so many non-traditional teams still alive with the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Fina, and the Ottawa Senators fighting for their lives in the Eastern Conference Final. On that note, there is a ton of disappointment at the empty seats at the Canadian Tire Centre for Ottawa’s home games in the playoffs. It sounds like there are going to be empty seats tonight for a do-or-die Game 6 in Ottawa. That is an embarrassment for a Canadian city that’s supposed to pride itself on their love of hockey. Let’s hope the Senators fans have a last-minute surge to buy tickets and show some appreciation for a Senators team that’s given the Ottawa fans a totally unexpected ride through the postseason this spring. I mean, Erik Karlsson at the top of his game is worth the price of admission all by himself.  

*The Pittsburgh Penguins have the Senators on the ropes, and it’s been an impressive showing given that they’re doing it without Kris Letang.

*Pro Hockey Talk has the ownership for the St. Louis Blues giving their GM Doug Armstrong a vote of confidence.

*Another early exit from the playoffs is going to start making some players expendable on the New York Rangers roster.

*Here’s a good piece on how David Poile built the Nashville Predators, who have reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time. Give credit where it’s due: He manned up and made a big move dealing away Shea Weber straight up for PK Subban. It’s really worked for Music City as they’ve stepped to the next level.

*Speaking of Nashville’s rise this spring in a wide open Western Conference, Pekka Rinne has silenced the critics he might have had by carrying his team to the Cup Final.

*For something completely different: Boston law enforcement is on high alert after the bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in the UK.


Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Haggerty: Reports of Seidenberg's demise were greatly exaggerated

Hindsight is always 20/20, of course, but it appears the Bruins made a mistake buying out veteran defenseman Dennis Seidenberg from the final couple of years of his contract. 

Seidenberg just finished up a wildly successful stint with host Team Germany at the IIHF World Championships, where he was named Directorate Best Defenseman (the tournament’s best defenseman) after leading all D-men with a goal and eight points. This came after Seidenberg, at age 35, posted 5 goals and 22 points in 73 games for the Islanders, with whom he signed after being cut loose by the B's, while averaging a shade under 20 minutes per game.  Seidenberg also had an excellent World Cup of Hockey tournament for Team Europe last summer (where he was teamed once again with Zdeno Chara), thus managing to play at a high level from September all the way through May.

A faction of Bruins fans thought he was on the serious decline after the 2015-16 season and, clearly, the Bruins agreed, opting to buy him out with two more years still left on a sizable contract extension. (They owe him $2.16 million next season and then will be charged $1.16 million on their salary cap over the next two seasons.) But the B's could have used a durable, defensive warrior like Seidenberg in the playoffs, when they lost three of their top four defensemen against the Ottawa Senators. A rejuvenated Seidenberg, able to play both the left and right side, would have been a better option than Colin Miller.

The Bruins made a conscious decision to hand things over to younger defensemen like Miller, Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo and Joe Morrow in cutting ties with Seidenberg. But they also perhaps miscalculated how much Seidenberg still had left in the tank after his best season in at least three years. 

“Well, at the time we felt like [Seidenberg's] game had really dropped off to where we thought he couldn’t contribute, and we wanted to see if some younger players could come in and help us out,” Bruins president Cam Neely said at the end-of-the-season press conference earlier this month. “I’ve got to say he played well this year for Long Island. But at the time we thought it was the right move. You can’t envision us having three of our top four D’s get hurt [in the playoffs]. We went through a lot of D’s in the postseason. You can’t predict that.”

Neely is referring to the decision made after Seidenberg’s second straight minus season in Boston, when back injuries and a major knee injury had seemed to slow him down a bit. It seemed the only way to properly evaluate some of their other, younger defenseman was to cut Seidenberg loose, but one has to wonder if the Bruins would have possibly done it had they known he was still capable of playing like he did this season for the Islanders. 

Either way, the buyout of Seidenberg is an extremely legitimate second guess of Bruins management in a year where they did a lot of things right.