December 9, 2005
New look for Leafs?Quinn splits up Kaberle-McCabe
By MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun
Parting can be such sweet sorrow, especially when you've been making such beautiful on-ice music together like Bryan McCabe and Tomas Kaberle.
But two consecutive losses caused coach Pat Quinn to rip apart that long-time partnership for practice yesterday.
"We just decided to change things for our (workout) and take a look at some differences," Quinn said."That's basically what it was, an experiment."
With Quinn playing the role of Mad Scientist, furiously mixing ingredients in search of the perfect blend, McCabe found himself lining up beside Alexander Khavanov while Kaberle was matched up with Ken Klee. The third unit of Carlo Colaiacovo and Aki Berg remained intact.
"We'll see if it stays like this or we go back to it being Caber and I," Kaberle said. "It's a coach's decision to do whatever he thinks is the best. Either way, I'm going to play the same."
McCabe ranks first in scoring among NHL defencemen with 36 points while Kaberle is sixth with 22. Perhaps Quinn doesn't want to put all his eggs in one basket, a scenario that suits Klee just fine.
"(Kaberle's) great," Klee said. "I was fortunate to play with Sergei Gonchar for a few years, a guy who skates well and moves the puck well. Kabby does those same things. As a partner it makes it easy when you have a guy that wants the puck and skates with the puck."
While Quinn has yet to decide whether his experiment will stick for the game against the Dallas Stars tomorrow, he continues to hint that at least one of the black aces -- Mariusz Czerkawski, Clarke Wilm and Wade Belak -- will be summoned out of the press box for a rare appearance.
"They haven't been squeaky wheels, they've just been sitting because of a coach's decision -- mine," Quinn said.
"It's nothing they've done. But when you've been losing, maybe it's time to change things up."
Czerkawski, for one, has maintained his composure in front of the media despite admitting he is frustrated.
"When Christmas comes around, you don't want to be in a bad mood," Czerkawski said. "You try to be happy."
Wilm was hounded by reporters after competing in a few drills on a line with Mats Sundin and Darcy Tucker.
"You always want to play but just being here beats being in the minors," Wilm said.