BOSTON -- Well, at least one trade for a guy from an Ontario team has paid off so far for the Boston Bruins.
The long dance between the Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs finally yielded defenceman Tomas Kaberle, who was supposed to be one of the essential missing pieces after Boston blew that 3-0 lead over the Philadelphia Flyers last spring.
But Kaberle -- who cost the Bruins a first-round draft pick, a conditional second-rounder and prospect Joe Colborne -- frankly has been a big disappointment for the B's.
Highly regarded as a Leaf, Kaberle has become the Bruins' fifth defenceman and has shrunk in the spotlight and competition of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Bruins power play, of which Kaberle was supposed to be an important part, still has not scored a goal in these playoffs (0-for-28). Only the fact the Bruins have been able to win without it and are up 2-0 on the Flyers in the Eastern Conference semifinal has kept the serious heat from being directed at Kaberle.
He's averaging 18 minutes 38 seconds a game and just over 24 shifts, fifth among the six defencemen who have played regularly for the Bruins in their nine post-season games so far. He has three assists.
You have to wonder what this has done to affect Kaberle's value on the free agent market in the summer, though there is still an opportunity for him to show he can rise to meet the level of play at this time of year.
The player Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli picked up from that other Ontario team, however, has been a godsend (okay, it wasn't God, but Bryan Murray who sent him). Chris Kelly has helped give what every bona fide Cup contender needs and that is an effective third line.
Kelly, Rich Peverley and Michael Ryder have chipped in almost a goal a game, combining for seven goals and nine assists in nine post-season games. Kelly is tied for the team lead with four goals. He scored only two in 24 regular-season games after being picked up from the Ottawa Senators.
"It was a tough adjustment coming here after being in one place for so long," said Kelly, who was drafted 94th overall in 1999 by the Senators and played six seasons in Ottawa.
"This is why I came here, for this opportunity to help this team."
Kelly was traded for a second-round pick in this year's draft.
He led the Bruins with three goals and six points during the first-round win over the Montreal Canadiens, despite playing with a full cage to protect an injured cheek he suffered when he collided with a post early in the series.
Despite his success wearing the cage -- he suggested maybe he should have gone the college route (where cages are mandatory) instead of playing major junior to improve his draft position -- he said he'll take it off when he gets the OK from doctors.
"The cage will come off when it's suggested I take it off, regardless of how things keep going here," Kelly said with a smirk after scoring in the Bruins' 3-2 overtime win Monday over the Flyers. "That will be my final statement on the cage."
Bruins coach Claude Julien has appreciated what Kelly and Peverley have given him in terms of depth.
"Even more so on the road when you don't have that last change," Julien said. "I've been able to play them against the top lines on the other teams because they have been reliable defensively.
"You've got Chris Kelly who's such a good two-way player and the other two have played so well, that has really given us some flexibility and some comfort knowing we can play them in different situations.
"You know, in that first round, (the Canadiens) shut down that Krejci line, really did a good job of that, and had we not had the contribution of that third line, I don't know if we would be sitting here today."