Frantisek Kaberle and Ron Wilson were in the same arena on Monday, but the father of the Maple Leafs defenceman was there as an observer and not a critic of the Toronto coach.
In fact, the elder Kaberle said comments attributed to him in a Czech hockey publication last August were taken out of context. At the time, Tomas Kaberle’s trade window was closing, which tied him to the Leafs for 2010-11 in the last year of his contract. Frantsek, a retired elite-team Czech coach, said in the article that Tomas and Wilson were incompatible, his son being an offensive defenceman on a team that stressed toughness from its blueline.
“It was a newspaper (at fault),” Frantisek said as he watched the Leafs’ practice at the MasterCard Centre. “At the time, I was in a car between the Czech and German border and my cell phone did not have a good signal. Four or five times it (cut out).
“I didn’t say anything against Ron. I said only that Ron had different types of defencemen, which is normal. I coach too, I like this player, I don’t like that player (in terms of style), That was all. The words were the same, but sometimes a newspaper makes something else of it.”
Tomas Kaberle and the Leafs are in almost the same difficult position as the past few seasons. The Leafs are in danger of missing the playoffs and there are teams heading to the NHL post-season tourney that will be tempted by his puck-moving talents. His $4.25 million US per year contract is in its last season, but he does have a no-trade clause and might even be working on the basics of an extension for next year. Kaberle reached 500 points as a Leaf this year, on the verge of cracking the top 10 in club history.