Yes, heading into Saturday night’s Maple Leafs-Edmonton Oilers tilt at the ACC, it’s true Kaberle has failed to register a point in seven games, including the six outings since the Olympics ended.
But who cares?
Since the trade deadline came and went, the Leafs, with Kaberle still on the roster, have gone 3-1-1.
Shouldn’t the team results be the most important thing?
Yet that didn’t stop Kaberle from being scrummed by the media after the morning skate Saturday, the focus being his offensive funk.
“Obviously coming back from the Olympics and all the flying time now with all these games, it’s a bit tiring,” said Kaberle, who represented the Czech Republic at the Vancouver Olympics. “But that’s no excuse. Sure, there are a lot of games in a short period now. But we all knew that going in. It’s only once every four years so it’s not too bad.
“Sometimes the puck goes in, sometimes it doesn’t.”
Much of Kaberle’s offensive funk can be attributed to a Leaf power play that has been flat, failing to score in its past 30 opportunities.
“(His struggles) are correlated with those of the power play,” coach Ron Wilson said, adding that “he needs to get pucks to the forwards quicker.”
Informed that GM Brian Burke, during a Friday radio interview, suggested the team would like to have Kaberle return next season, Wilson concurred.
“Hopefully he will be back,” Wilson said. “He has a role carrying the puck and on the power play. We have (other guys) who concentrate on the defensive aspect of the game on our blue line.”
Kaberle has one more season remaining on his contract. His no-trade clause becomes moot from the June draft through Aug. 15.
QUINN BACKS BUDS
Once he had finished all the handshakes, all the hellos, all the mini-reunions with friends and former colleagues, Pat Quinn had a chance to absorb the atmosphere of being back at the Air Canada Centre.
And, in the process, he told long-suffering Leaf fans that they one day will have a reason to cheer.
“One day they will hoist a Stanley Cup in this building,” Quinn said. “I truly believe that.”
Quinn, the bench boss of the Edmonton Oilers, will coach his first NHL game at the ACC Saturday night since being fired by the Leafs in 2006.
Tom Gilbert-Ryan Whitney
Taylor Chorney-Jason Strudwick
Aaron Johnson-Theo Peckham
Dustin Penner-Andrew Cogliano-Gilbert Brule
Mike Comrie-Shawn Horcoff-Fernando Pisani
Robert Nilsson-Ryan Potulny-Zack Stortini
Marc Pouliot-Sam Gagner-Christopher Minard
Francois Beauchemin-Dion Phaneuf
Tomas Kaberle-Luke Schenn
Carl Gunnarsson-Luke Schenn
Nikolai Kulemin-Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel
Viktor Stalberg-Mikhail Grabovski-Luca Caputi
John Mitchell-Christian Hanson-Jamie Lundmark
Wayne Primeau-Rickard Wallin-Colton Orr