Only two Maple Leafs defencemen have played more games than Tomas Kaberle has in Toronto, and yet, as the deadline regarding his tradeable status approaches, the emotion attached to his future is underwhelming.
After 11 seasons, Kaberle has left fans to shrug: He is neither loved nor hated. He is just there, with all those skills, all that size, all that promise, and yes, all that disappointment.
Tim Horton and Borje Salming are the only Leafs to have played more on defence in the history of the club, and one is remembered as much for his coffee as his Hall of Fame hockey, while Salming remains a Leafs legend as few will ever be. But for whatever reason, through the best times and worst times, there has never been a fan attraction to Kaberle. He desperately cares to be a Leaf, but his desperation rarely translates to his game or to the way people perceive him. And maybe that is why he has left the most passionate of fans somewhat dry.
Brian Burke claims the market will pick up for Kaberle after the Ilya Kovalchuk case gets settled. Not sure I understand the correlation between the two. If 27 teams have nothing to do with Kovalchuk in any way, how will their needs be different once the matter is concluded? Either way, Burke has until Aug. 15 to make a deal for Kaberle, who twice was to go to Philadelphia -- once for Eric Lindros, once for Jeff Carter -- with neither deal ever consummated. But those deals have mirrored his time in Toronto. You always expect more and end up with less.
This and that
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos should order manager Cito Gaston to play Travis Snider every day. That way you get two months to see where Snider is and it gives the Jays some sense of the future. And no, Snider shouldn't be leading off ... A depressing assignment: After Year 15 of the Raptors, try and name the top five players in franchise history. My list: 1. Vince Carter; 2 Chris Bosh; 3. Damon Stoudamire; 4. Antonio Davis; 5. Doug Christie. And you wonder why they've won only one playoff round in a decade and a half and are still spinning their wheels ... Just wondering: At the age of 32, after a marvellous career on defence, the Leafs moved Red Kelly to centre, where he played rather well for the final seven years of his career. If Burke can't move Kaberle, is this something worth considering? ... Richie Hall is alive and well -- for now -- as coach of the Edmonton Eskimos. But he wound up with his first win because, frankly, Travis Lulay is a horrible CFL quarterback ... David Tyree has announced his retirement but his rather forgettable career will be remembered for only one spectacular play -- the impossible catch that won the New York Giants a Super Bowl ... It's already August: Can we please slow down the summer?
Hear and there
Nobody tell this to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd.: The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and lost money doing so. The only part MLSEL can relate to: The Blackhawks have raised ticket prices by 20% ... Should Jose Bautista stay on pace and wind up leading the American League in home runs, he will become only the third Blue Jays player to do so. Jesse Barfield won the home run crown in 1986 and Fred McGriff followed him up in '89. For the record, George Bell didn't lead the AL in homers when he hit 47 in his MVP season of 1987. That year, he lost out to andro-boy Mark McGwire ... Has anyone ever had a better year than Babe Ruth in 1919? He hit 29 home runs, knocked in 114, won nine games as a pitcher and had an earned run average of 2.97. Did you know Ruth's career ERA was 2.28? ... There are all kinds of players less effective than Dominic Moore, who make more money than the newest Tampa Bay forward, who signed for two years, $2.2 million US. This was a terrific deal by Steve Yzerman, but you have to wonder: In an NHL filled with barely adequate $2 million-a-year players, what is it about Moore that makes him always settle for less?
Scene and heard
Department of ridiculous quotes not attributed to Antonio Davis: "Toronto is different," said Chris Bosh. "For one, it's a different country." Like he'd rather play in Sacramento, Jersey, Milwaukee, Detroit, Oklahoma City, Memphis, Houston, Portland, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Cleveland, or New Orleans? Wonderful places, all of them ... Dave Perkins won't like this note. It's about him. He's retiring after three decades of writing sports in Toronto. His sense of humour, sensibility, and his instinct for seeing beyond the apparent will be greatly missed ... Now that Ian White will be paid $3 million to play defence for the Calgary Flames, can he now afford to shave? ... Life never makes sense: Floyd Mayweather's promotions company has been kicked out of its Las Vegas office for owing five months back rent. The same Floyd who made $22 million for one fight last March ... Dion Phaneuf's salary-cap hit is $6.5 million, which is almost, dollar for dollar, the same as that of White and Matt Stajan ... No one will touch the Montreal Alouettes so long as Anthony Calvillo stays healthy. He is light years ahead of any other quarterback in the CFL and that gap isn't shrinking, it's widening.
And another thing
Burke won a Stanley Cup with a dominant defence of Chris Pronger, Scott Niedermayer, Francois Beauchemin, Sean O'Donnell, Kent Huskins and Joe DiPenta. Bob Murray's defence in Anaheim as of Saturday: Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman and Sheldon Brookbank. Can you say Anaheim needs Kaberle, and badly? ... First, Jamie-Lynn Sigler dumps Turtle. Now Mark Sanchez. Who's next? ... Honest, it must brown off the Minnesota Vikings players going through two-a-days that Brett Favre will show up at camp when he feels like it ... Even after the dubious signing of Alexei Ponikarovsky, the Los Angeles Kings are almost $13 million under the salary cap. This is a quality team that needs to be bold and has the money to do so. Being patient should no longer be the mantra for the Kings .... Let's see now: Brett Wallace was a first-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. A year later, the Cards traded him to Oakland in the Matt Holliday deal. Five months later, the A's traded him to Toronto for a prospect. The Jays had four months of Wallace before trading him to Houston for Anthony Gose. Never a good sign when other teams like Wallace more than the one that employs him ... The curse of Roy Halladay: Roy Oswalt crushed in his first start with the Phillies ... Happy birthday to Beckie Scott (36), Syl Apps Jr. (63), Henry Tillman (50), Coolio (47), Edgerrin James (32) and Pete Peeters (53) ... And, hey, whatever became of Reijo Ruotsalainen?