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Struggles aside, Bruins remember Tomas Kaberle fondly 10.11.11 at 11:40 pm ET
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Tomas Kaberle struggled in Boston, but he's found a new home. (AP)

When the Bruins play the Hurricanes Wednesday night in Carolina, they will play against a member of the 2010-11 champions for the first time, and perhaps no one fell victim to the harsh Boston spotlight more Tomas Kaberle.

Kaberle, for whom the Bruins traded former 16th overall pick Joe Colborne, a first-round pick and a second-rounder to the Maple Leafs, came to the Bruins on Feb. 18 of last season with big expectations. The veteran blueliner was popular amongst his teammates, but struggled in his stint with the Bruins, failing to improve a wretched power play, hesitating to shoot and proving to be a liability in his own zone. When his contract expired the Bruins told him to test the waters, and he ended up taking a three-year deal worth $12.75 million with the Hurricanes.

“I don’t know if the pressure bothered him. I mean, he played in Toronto, where there’s tons of pressure,” Dennis Seidenberg said. “He felt like it was the best situation for him to go to Carolina, and he got a good deal, so it’s good for him.”

Kaberle had averaged upwards of 22 minutes per night in his career with the Maple Leafs, but he saw his ice time with the Bruins cut down significantly as time went on. Things looked their worst in the Eastern Conference finals, when he committed costly turnovers and ended up playing what at the time was a career-low (injuries excluded) of 11:35 in Game 4 against the Lightning. He played better in the Stanley Cup finals, but in Game 7 set a new career-low with 9:14 of ice time.

“It’s never good if you see a player that’s been so successful in the past to struggle a little bit, but he was really good,” Seidenberg said. “He knew how to handle himself, and you would never knew how he was doing on the ice with the way he acted in the locker room with us. He’s just a great guy.”

Though he will be on the other team Wednesday, Seidenberg admitted Tuesday that the members of last season’s historic Bruins team will always remember one another fondly.

“I think even if we didn’t win the Cup, Tomas is just a really nice guy, and good to hang out with and a great team guy,” Seidenberg said. “Winning the Cup with him definitely makes it a little more special. Down the road, it’s going to be nice to exchange stories and talk about.”

This season, Kaberle is playing on the Hurricanes’ top power play unit. He has no points and is a minus-3 for the Hurricanes, who are 0-2-1 through three games.

Read More: Dennis Seidenberg, Tomas Kaberle,
Joe Corvo looks to give power play a shot in the arm 09.14.11 at 1:26 pm ET
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Joe Corvo had 191 shots on goal last season. (AP)

WILMINGTON — In case being traded to the Bruins the day Tomas Kaberle signed with his team wasn’t enough of a hint, Joe Corvo is well aware that he’s in Boston to fill a role.

“From what I hear, it’s some power-play time, some shots on the power play and getting it to guys, just moving the puck, skating the puck, trying to bring a little of the offensive flair to it and making plays with some of the guys on the team, the skill guys,” Corvo said Wednesday as he met the Boston media.

Shooting is something on which Corvo prides himself on, and something Kaberle rarely did in his days as a Bruin. It would seem it’s simply a difference in philosophy for the two players, as the pretty passes may now be absent with Kaberle gone.

“He looks for the pass, looks to set guys up. If the shot’s there, I’m going to take it most of the time,” Corvo said. “I think a lot of power-play goals aren’t the cute, tic-tac-toe goals. A lot of them are rebound goals. And the more you hit the net and put it on goal, guys are going to be around the net and score.”

Corvo said the day Kaberle signed with the Hurricanes was a strange one, as he had known the Bruins were interested him but that a deal wouldn’t be made unless Kaberle signed with Carolina.

“I had heard that it kind of hinged on him signing there, whether they would sign him there or what they were going to do,” he said. “But it was obviously a great surprised. I was just happy to kind of be in a market again where everybody’s so crazy about hockey and hockey’s so important. It’ll just be fun to play.”

More to come later on Corvo.

Read More: Joe Corvo, Tomas Kaberle,
Will Joe Corvo be able to replace Tomas Kaberle? 08.26.11 at 1:51 am ET
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With captains’ practices just two short weeks from commencing, WEEI.com will be looking at the questions facing the defending Stanley Cup champions in the 2011-12 season.

Today’s question is whether Joe Corvo will be able to replace Tomas Kaberle on the Bruins’ blue line. Corvo isn’t nearly as talented, but he’s definitely capable of doing what Kaberle did in a so-so stint in Boston. When you look at the fact that Corvo is in the last year of a deal with a $2.25 million cap hit, while Kaberle got a three-year, $12.75 million deal in Carolina, the exchange looks good for the Bruins.

Though it became trendy to give Kaberle a big pat on the back during the Cup finals for his improved play, the fact of the matter is that things had gotten to the point where Kaberle was getting less ice time than he’d ever gotten in his career (he actually played less than 10 minutes in Game 7 of the finals). Not to compare two different players in two different situations, but as a point of reference, Corvo averaged a little under 25 minutes per game last season (Kaberle had 21:15 with the B’s), but Corvo is sure to get less than that, assuming he becomes one of the six regular defensemen in Boston.

For the sake of comparison, Kaberle is a little bigger than Corvo, while Corvo is a better skater. (While Kaberle’s passing skills were as-advertised, one thing that stood out here with the Czech blueliner was how poor a skater he was). Corvo’s 40 points last season tied a career-high, while Kaberle had 47 points in a season that was close to on par with his recent output, but far from the 67 he had in the 2005-06 season.

One player with plenty of perspective on the matter is Dennis Seidenberg. He’s played with both defensemen, as he was teammates with Corvo in Carolina in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons. Seidenberg, who occasionally played on a pairing with Corvo (Corvo was usually paired with Tim Gleason, while Seidenberg skated with Joni Pitkanen), gave his new and former teammate a glowing review this week.

“[He’s] a very, very good skater,” Seidenberg said of Corvo. “Good hands, good passer. Very fast. I like playing with him like I did in Carolina. I’m looking forward to it and I think he’ll fit in really well.”

But can he replace Kaberle? Seidenberg seems to think so.

“He’s an offensive guy and I’m sure he likes to shoot the puck, and that’s what we need – guys getting the puck to the net and creating rebounds,” Seidenberg said. “I think he’s been doing that in the past and I’m sure he’s going to do it again.”

The Bruins certainly did their offensive defenseman to shoot the puck, but that was not part of Kaberle’s repertoire. It is that area in which the Bruins are in luck. Corvo had 191 shots on goal last season, which would have placed him behind only Zdeno Chara (264) amongst Bruins defensemen. Kaberle had 130 over the course of last season, including 31 shots on goal in 24 regular-season games with the B’s.

There’s also the fact that Corvo will need to stave off Steven Kampfer, who hasn’t gone anywhere. On paper, it would seem that Kampfer could start next season in the role Adam McQuaid filled early last year as the seventh defenseman, but one shouldn’t count out Kampfer now that he’s healthy. Based on experience, though, it would seem a spot would be Corvo’s to lose.

In the end, Corvo can meet, exceed, or fall below expectations when it comes to replacing Kaberle. Ultimately, that could come down to whether people are talking about the pre-Boston Kaberle or the one who underwhelmed in black and gold. If it’s the latter, Corvo is certainly capable of doing what Kaberle did for $2 million less this year.

Read More: Joe Corvo, Steven Kampfer, Tomas Kaberle,
Report: Financially, Marc Savard better off not retiring 08.07.11 at 12:50 pm ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli confirmed to the Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa what many have figured since Savard was shut down for the season in January: if he retires, he won’t get the money due to him over the six years remaining on his contract. That means he’s better off coming to camp each year, failing his physical, getting his money, and giving the B’s the cap space since he’ll be on long-term-injury reserve.

“If Savvy retires, he would not be entitled to the benefits of the contract,’’ Chiarelli told Shinzawa.

By coming to camp each year and failing his physicals, Savard would still make the $21.05 million owed to him. The Bruins would be allowed to exceed the salary cap by his cap hit ($4.007 million) each year, as they did last season when they entered the season over the cap and later added defenseman Tomas Kaberle‘s money with Savard shut down for the season.

Again, this has seemed like the logical route for Savard to take since the season ended. While it may be a bit odd for him to show up each season without having a realistic chance of playing, it would be the smart thing to do financially for Savard and his family. Shinzawa notes that Savard would get the money from insurance, as Alexei Zhamnov did with the B’s.

Read More: Marc Savard, Tomas Kaberle,
Tomas Kaberle a true Role Model with Stanley Cup 07.21.11 at 4:15 pm ET
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Stick-tap to our friend Matt Kalman of The Bruins Blog for catching this story about Tomas Kaberle‘s day with the Stanley Cup yesterday. We posted a couple of videos of Kaberle with the Cup in the Czech Republic yesterday, but nobody could have seen this coming. Check out this photo from isport.cz, which the Globe and Mail picked up:

Here’s NHL.com‘s explanation:

After a brief stop to take some pictures with the Cup, Kaberle just entered Kladno for a stop at Velky Tanecni Sal, which appears to be a Knights of Columbus-type establishment, where hundreds of people are waiting for an opportunity to see their Stanley Cup Champion and local hero.

Upon entering the hall, Kaberle was greeted by a band called The Hello Piggy Band. Kaberle was brought on stage and received a sword and shield. He also presented the Stanley Cup to the crowd and received a real hero’s welcome when he hoisted the trophy over his head.

One probably has tons of questions after seeing this, none of which should be bigger than the mystery of why Kaberle didn’t invide Joe Lo Truglio and Christopher Mintz-Plasse along.

Read More: Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Joe Lo Truglio, Tomas Kaberle,
Tomas Kaberle brings Stanley Cup to Czech Republic 07.20.11 at 3:42 pm ET
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When David Krejci and his Bruins teammates arrived in the Czech Republic to begin what would end up being a championship season, the best he could offer was taking fellow players out for goulash. As the video below shows, what he and Tomas Kaberle have brought this time is a bit shinier, and contains far less calories.

(On that first video, what is that at 0:35? Did the Winnipeg Jets make a draft pick on this trip?)

The Cup is on its European swing now, with Kaberle up first. Krejci will have his day on Thursday, with captain Zdeno Chara getting two days with the trophy on Friday and Saturday. Tuukka Rask will have it Sunday and Monday before it heads back to North America.

As Bruins PR man Eric Tosi tweeted, the defenseman signed autographs and took pictures with fans for over five hours and didn’t stop until all who showed up were accomodated. That’s hardly surprising that Kaberle would do such a thing, as his kindness was not on the list of things in question during his time in Boston.

For the list of where the Cup has been and is set to go, click here.

Read More: David Krejci, Tomas Kaberle,
Andrew Ference has inkling he and Joe Corvo have at least one thing in common at 3:10 pm ET
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When players begin showing up for captains practices and eventually training camp as the summer winds down and the preseason begins, Andrew Ference, like the other returning players from the Stanley Cup champions, will have a couple of new faces to meet.

Joe Corvo (Canada.com)

Ference will have a new fellow blueliner in defenseman Joe Corvo, for whom the B’s traded a fourth-round pick to the Hurricanes the day Tomas Kaberle signed with Carolina. Ference may not know Corvo personally, but he knows they’ll have a good ice-breaker for when they meet.

“I know he’s got a lot of tattoos, so we’ll be able to swap,” Ference said with a laugh.

Ference, the team’s resident tattoo aficionado, flew his tattoo artist in from Calgary so he and his teammates could commemorate their Stanley Cup championship with ink on breakup day. While many players discussed what types of tattoos they were considering that day, the final tally of players to go through with it was a measly seven, including Ference, Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin. Ference noted that other teammates simply got them on other days, such as Chris Kelly, whom Ference said was set to get his this week.

While a simple google search will show that Seguin and Marchand (the latter of whom rarely wore a shirt in the week that followed the Cup win) got “Stanley Cup Champions Boston Bruins 6-15-11″ on the side of their ribs, Ference went with a very plain black-and-white spoked B on his right arm.

“Some guys got the writing, and I went with the B,” Ference said. “I don’t know. I left room for more years though.”

Ference will also meet Benoit Pouliot, with whom he’s already had at least one dealing. It was Ference who sparred with Pouliot in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after the then-Canadiens forward attempted to hit Johnny Boychuk high on a dangerous play in the corner. Ference isn’t concerned about having any difficulty befriending who was once the enemy, citing the team’s ability to do it in the past.

“We got along fine with Michael Ryder,” Ference pointed out, as Ryder spent his entire career in the Montreal organization before becoming a popular guy in the Bruins’ dressing room.

While there are similarities between the two situations of Ryder and Pouliot in that both came to the Bruins after playing for the Habs (Ryder signed a three-year, $12 million deal with the B’s back in the summer of 2008), one would generally be far more skeptical of Pouliot today than they were of Ryder in 2008. Ryder was an established scorer in the NHL, while Pouliot, to borrow a bit of logic from Jack Edwards, has been nothing short of a fantastic bust since being drafted fourth overall by the Wild in 2005. For Pouliot to do anything like Ryder on the stat sheet would make the $1.1 million they dropped on the 24-year a sound investment.

Read More: Andrew Ference, Benoit Pouliot, Brad Marchand, Chris Kelly
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