Notes: Kaberle enjoys competitive atmosphere

Notes: Kaberle enjoys competitive atmosphere

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

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 bostonbruins.com.Courtesy 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 jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

Backes: Most of the talk has me playing center for Bruins

Backes: Most of the talk has me playing center for Bruins

David Backes on the Felger and Mazz show on 98.5 The Sports Hub, and simulcast on CSN, tells fill-in hosts Jim Murray and Greg Dickerson there has also been some discussion with the Bruins of putting him on the wing with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Watch the video above for more. 

Bruins lose Stempniak, Eriksson, others in free agency

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Bruins lose Stempniak, Eriksson, others in free agency

The Bruins lost a number of free agents on after the market opened at noontime. None bigger than Loui Eriksson signing a six-year, $36 million contract with the Vancouver Canucks to play with the Sedin Twins.

It’s the exact level of term and salary that Eriksson said he was looking for from the Bruins in contract negotiations around the trade deadline, but the Bruins never really moved from their offer of a four-year deal at comparable money.

The Bruins will miss the 30-goal production and solid all-around, two-way play from Eriksson as he heads to the West Coast, but they also traded in a passive player in Eriksson for an in-your-face, physical leader in David Backes on a five-year deal. 

Backes is much more of a Bruins-style player than Eriksson could have ever hoped to have been. That part of it is a win for a Bruins fan base that wants intensity and physicality from their players.

The Bruins also watched Jonas Gustavsson sign a one-year, $800,000 contract with Peter Chiarelli and the Edmonton Oilers, Brett Connolly sign a one-year deal for $850,000 with the Washington Capitals, Zach Trotman signs a one-year deal for $950,000 and Lee Stempniak ink a two-year, $5 million contract with the Carolina Hurricanes after being a non-contract training camp invite with New Jersey last season.

Sweeney had maintained as late as Thursday that he was still keeping ties with many of Boston’s free agents prior to the noon opening of the free agent market, but clearly that’s changed.

“We’ll continue to have talks and sort of figure out where things may go. We’ve had talks with a number of players to see what they would like to see as the opportunity here or what we see as a fit,” said Sweeney on the Torey Krug conference call on Thursday night. “I haven’t ruled absolutely any of that out; just haven’t found common ground and obviously it gets harder and harder as we go further along in the process.”