No practice for Kaberle? No problem

No practice for Kaberle? No problem
February 21, 2011, 5:44 pm
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By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com

WILMINGTON -- For the second straight day, there was no sign of newly-acquired defenseman Tomas Kaberle at Bruins practice. He's remains l in Canada, taking care of post-trade personal matters before joining the team for its stretch run beginning Tuesday in Calgary.

Still, coach Claude Julien worked ran power-play drills at Monday's practice, minus the team's new quarterback.

Quarterback, you say?

Yes, the Boston Bruins' new quarterback.

For Kaberle wasn't brought in to be a stay-at-home, shutdown defensman. He was brought to Boston to lead the power play with his excellent puck-moving skills.

But not having Kaberle for the last two practices since being acquired, forces the B's to simulate Kaberle's absence, and work on the man advantage without their new quarterback.

Is that a problem?

The Bruins don't just think he's good enough to step right in and enhance the team's power play (which currently ranks 13th in the NHL). They know he's good enough, because they saw it on Friday night against Ottawa, when he stepped right in and opened the eyes of many. And at times, was maybe even too good.

"We were looking for somebody from the back end, to quarterback our power play, and also help us move the puck there," said Julien. "There's no doubt, this guys is capable of doing that."

"When you have him on your side, and you see what he does, for me, on that first power play Friday night, he moved the puck so well, and so quickly, that boom, first thing you know, we're in the end zone. That's what we talk about when you have quarterbacks, guys that can see the play right away. As soon as the puck's on their stick, they know where it's going.

"And I think, at times, it even caught our guys a little off-guard. They weren't ready for it, to be honest with you. So that's the thing that I liked about his game."

In Kaberle's absence on Monday, the Bruins rolled with two power-play units, with Andrew Ference filling in for Kaberle on the top unit with Zdeno Chara.

Milan Lucic, David Krejci, Nathan Horton and Michael Ryder mixed and matched on the top unit, while Rich Peverley, Patrice Bergeron, and Mark Recchi rounded out the second unit.

Dennis Seidenberg and Steve Kampfer were on the point for the second power-play unit, and both believe that even though Kaberle was missing for the team's power-play workouts, he'll be able to step right in on Tuesday and be successful.

"We have other personnel that can jump in, and play on the power play," said Kampfer after Monday's practie. "Obviously, Kaberle adds a different element to our team. But with him gone, I think guys know that he's going to play on the power play, and things are going to happen, but we have another unit out there, that the personnel's the same, and we're trying to get better as well."

"Everybody knows what to do, and he's a great power-play guy, so he knows where to put the puck, and Chara knows how to get open, so it's not a problem," said Seidenberg. "I think he's experienced enough to make up for it.

"If you saw last game, he stepped in, without practicing once. He made good set-ups, and gave Chara great looks at the net for one-timers."

The other new face on the power play is Peverley. He was at practice for the second straight day on Monday. Julien said he liked what he saw.

"He's got a good shot," said Julien. "He's got the quick release, and just watching him this morning on the power play, he seems to be moving the puck well, and making good decisions. So we'll get a better idea in those games coming up. But that's what you get from him. We like the way he's got that quick release."

Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.