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.