September 7, 2010
No hard feelings between Kaberle, Wilson
By ROB LONGLEY, QMI Agency
MARKHAM -- Ron Wilson had a driver in his hand and Tomas Kaberle was within striking distance.
After a summer of drama, would sparks fly between the Maple Leafs coach and his all-star defenceman?
If there is a rift between Wilson and Kaberle -- serious or otherwise -- it wasn't going to get any fuel Tuesday at the team's charity golf tournament.
Instead, Wilson, Kaberle and captain Dion Phaneuf shared a laugh as they waited to tee off at Angus Glen and whatever personal business required will take place behind closed doors.
"My relationship is not going to change," Wilson said. "We're going to try to figure out what's been said. We will sit down either at the end of the week or early next week and have a heart-to-heart talk and see what the issues are if there are any."
Now that Kaberle's no-movement clause has expired and he won't be dealt, the pressing issue seems to be his relationship with his coach. The story exploded when a Czech newspaper reported that Kaberle's father said his son didn't exactly have a solid working relationship with the coach.
The defenceman opted not to talk to the media on Tuesday, leaving his coach and general manager, Brian Burke, to put out the fire.
Wilson has been hard on Kaberle at times during his two years as coach, but that certainly wouldn't make the native of the Czech Republic unique. But if there is a problem, the coach intends to extinguish it before training camp begins next week.
"I'll dispute everything I've heard through hearsay, but I have to sit down with Thomas," Wilson said. "What other people say is irrelevant, it's what he says. I'll give him every opportunity in the world: He's never said anything in the past."
Despite rumblings to the relationship between Wilson and Kaberle in the past, Burke dismissed the ordeal as nonsense.
"I've been at this a long time and this is routine," Burke said. "It's not a big deal. They'll sort it out and get going.
"I've had to have a coach or a player sit down and I've had to have linemates sit down. I've had to call linemates in and sit them in my office and say: 'I'm locking the door and no one is leaving until you sort this one out.'"
Like management, Kaberle's teammates seem content with dismissing the situation as something not unique to the Leafs.
"For the most part, your coach is your boss," Giguere said. "You don't always agree with them, you don't always appreciate what he does. At the same time, there has to be respect and there's respect there."