Notes: Kaberle enjoys competitive atmosphere

Notes: Kaberle enjoys competitive atmosphere

By Joe Haggerty

VANCOUVER Tomas Kaberle has toiled for the last five seasons in Toronto without any hope of the playoffs.

So participating in playoff-style games against teams like Calgary and Vancouver in the final days of February is exactly what he had in mind when Brian Burke decided he wasnt part of the plans in Toronto.Kaberle hasn't notched a singleassist in his first two games, buthas stillimpressed the Bruins with his puck movement,the ability to create onthe power play, the important ability tomake other players around himbetter, and the rare trait atabsorbing plenty of ice time in the same efficient manner that Zdeno Chara does.

Its been five years and its difficult to answer questions about why no playoffs. Itll be nice not to have the questions, said Kaberle. Obviously with my last year of my contract and Brian not extending me, it was pretty much saying you have to move on and pretty much time to waive the no trade.

I didnt want to be a bad guy, and overstay my welcome there and then say well see what happens in the summer. He gave me a chance to go somewhere else and I just want to take advantage of that. Boston is a great team, and hopefully its going to work out for me and my teammates as well.

The biggest measuring stick game of the trip comes for the Bruins Saturday night against the Canucks, and many are billing it as a potential preview for the Stanley Cup Finals. Thats something that Kaberle hasnt been a part of for a good long time, and its something hes really looking forward to.

Theyve been on top of their conference all year long. They havent been going through stretches low and high, said Kaberle. They keep it pretty much steady, and its going to be a big challenge from the very first minute. Theres only a couple more days to help Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, Cradles to Crayons and BJ's Wholesale Club, who are teaming up to host the Fourth Annual PJ Drive for Massachusetts' children in need. Throughout the month of February, Bruins fans, families, schools and corporations were encouraged to donate new, unused pajamas for underprivileged children statewide. There are only a couple of days left in the drive. For more information, visit of Bruins media relations maven Eric Tosis always-entertaining Bruins Week Ahead, Shawn Thornton and Kaberle were actually defenseman partners for a pair of AHL games in their minor league careers. Thornton and Kaberle were D partners for two games when they both played for the St. Johns Maple Leafs during the 1997-98 season in the AHL (American Hockey League). Thornton was a defenseman at the time.Claude Julien has been pretty happy with what he's seen out of center Chris Kelly in two games thus farwith the Bruins, and the steady, heady center has already earned his coach's trust: "You tell him something once and he gets it. Most of the time you don't even have to say anything to him because he reads the game really well. I think he's a very intelligent player," said Julien. "What we've heard about him and what we've seen of him has been bang-on. We were told by people that had how smart he was -- and how well he can adapt -- and we've seen that in two games."

Joe Haggerty can be reached at Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup


McQuaid cleared to play, nearing return to Bruins lineup

BRIGHTON, Mass. -- It was a bitter pill for Adam McQuaid to sit out the first five games of this season, but it looks like the veteran Bruins stay-at-home defenseman is nearing a return to the lineup. McQuaid was cleared to potentially play in Saturday’s loss to the Montreal Canadiens after an upper body injury kept him shelved for the team’s first four games, and could be approaching a return in the next few days as Claude Julien mulls a number of possible lineup changes.

“It was obviously frustrating, but I’m where I’m at now and trying to move on from it. Looking forward to getting back into the lineup hopefully as soon as possible here,” said the 30-year-old McQuaid, who had a goal and nine points in 64 games for the Black and Gold last season. “The excitement level is high for me, and it is for everybody after a loss when you’re looking forward to getting back out there.

“It would have been nice to have started the season with the guys, but you can’t change that now. I’ve had some good practices, and I’m just trying to my game as simple as possible, and take it as it comes. Obviously guys have played some games and it’s been a couple of weeks for me, so I’ll just have to keep my game simple.”

The B’s bench boss indicated it was only a matter of time before McQuaid makes his 2016-17 regular season debut, but that he’s got plenty of things to decide prior to dropping the puck against the Wild.

“[McQuaid] was cleared last game. I haven’t made any decisions based for [Tuesday night vs. Minnesota]. There’s a lot of things that are up in the air, and I’ve just go to juggle those things,” said Julien. “Who knows? Hopefully tomorrow morning I’ve got a better picture [of injury situation], and if not then it will be game-time decisions. I wish I could have a better answer [on if McQuaid will play], but I’ve got no answers right now.”

With Colin Miller (minus-4), Joe Morrow, Torey Krug (a rough minus-3 against Montreal) and John-Michael Liles all minus players after the first five games of the season, there are ample options for Julien on which potential blueliner to bump up to the press box. McQuaid is just happy he’s getting closer to a return while skating with 23-year-old Rob O’Gara at practice, and he can get back to helping a B’s team that’s smack dab in the middle (ranked 15th allowing 3.0 goals per game) of the NHL for team defense this season. 

Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?


Monday, Oct. 24: Bergeron the best defensive forward ever?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading while giving The Walking Dead credit for delivering a pile driver to me as a TV viewer last night. I did not see all of that coming.

*Plenty of questions and answers about the Calgary Flames as they’ve looked a little shaky in the early going this season.

*PHT writer and FOH (Friend of Haggs) Jason Brough has the Edmonton Oilers straightening things out after the brutal loss to Buffalo.

*NHL captains like Steve Stamkos carry the heavy weight of tradition on their shoulders as they go about their business.

*The Hockey News wonders if Patrice Bergeron is the best defensive forward to ever play in the NHL. I’m certain he’s in the conversation, but that’s a big, bold statement that deserves some heavy consideration. After all, he never had to defend Wayne Gretzky, Mario Lemieux, Bobby Orr, Mike Bossy, Gordie Howe or any other number of offensive stars. I certainly think he should be in the select club he would join if/when he wins his fourth Selke Trophy.

*Minnesota D-man Matt Dumba was nearly scratched by the Minnesota Wild, and he says that he’s never going to let that happen again.

*The Anaheim Ducks placed Simon Despres on long term injured reserve as they try to stay afloat salary cap-wise, and avoid dealing off a player in-season.

*For something completely different: The Boston Celtics break ground on a new practice facility adjacent to the new Bruins place.