Claude Julien sticking with Tomas Kaberle
|05.23.11 at 12:44 pm ET|
This space has long been a meeting place for the “Play Steven Kampfer” movement, but Bruins coach Claude Julien emphatically stated Monday that Tomas Kaberle is staying in the lineup.
“If you know the game well enough, you would understand that there’s some experience back there,” Julien said when a reporter asked about benching Kaberle. “You’ve got to also think, is that guy coming in a better player than Kaberle?”
In my humble opinion, I would answer “yes” to Julien’s question. Between Kampfer’s skill set/previous success vs. Tampa making him a good fit for this series and Kaberle’s ugly turnovers on which he’s looked indifferent, Kampfer could probably do more with 11:35 of ice time than Kaberle did in Game 4.
Yet Julien is correct in reminding doubters that sticking with a struggling player has worked for the Bruins. Many wanted Michael Ryder out of the lineup in the first round, and now Ryder has been the team’s best winger for the last five games.
“Some people wanted certain people out of the lineup earlier on, and our patience has paid off,” Julien said. “I don’t know why we decide that we should be taking [Kaberle] out of the lineup when there’s other players too that have struggled. I don’t know why we haven’t talked about that. That’s because we had patience. We believed in those guys, and Kaberle last game, that second goal, maybe [lost] the puck, but our system calls for support on that. Our support wasn’t there. According to our system, he’s not the only one to blame.”
Kaberle was certainly to blame for Sean Bergenheim’s game-tying goal in the second period Saturday, as the Lightning forward took the puck from Kaberle behind the Bruins’ net without a fight from No. 12. Kaberle was not to blame for Simon Gagne’s game-winner in the third, but Julien only addressed the fourth goal.
“On the winning goal, he blocks a shot, makes a great play. He’s trying to get off the ice, and we turn the puck over, so we keep playing Kaberle? I think people are a little hard on this guy,” Julien said. “I’m one of those guys that’s going to support him, and one of those guys who’s going to keep him in the lineup, in case you want to know. He’s going to be a good part of our hockey team. We got him because we believe in him, and until last game he played two really good games, so that’s how we see Kaberle.”
There you have it. Kaberle is only worth 11:35 of ice time, but he’s worth believing in. The company line just sounds a bit off.