February 16, 2011
Kaberle could help Bruins
By LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency
BOSTON — The Bruins usually welcome a visit by the Maple Leafs, but not when they bring with them the perfect storm of trade speculation.
While in town, the Maple Leafs made the Kris Versteeg trade Monday night, finished the Aaron Voros deal over breakfast and then general manager Brian Burke held a peppy press conference at
TD Garden on the merits of getting business done ahead of the Feb. 28 deadline.
The Boston media, some of whom had written earlier in the day that the Bruins should get moving on the trade front, couldn’t have been happier, though the players likely didn’t care for the distraction.
“It’s a tough time of year, because you don’t want to see anyone moved,” Bruins winger Shawn Thornton said.
“I love our team. But if management feels we have to make a couple of moves, I’m sure they will.”
The Bruins did, in fact, make a move late Tuesday, acquiring centre Chris Kelly from the Ottawa Senators.
The Bruins were believed to have had an interest in Versteeg before he was sent to Philadelphia, and they can’t argue about how their last deal with Toronto has worked out. The way things are going, Phil Kessel could deliver them a second top-five pick on June 24 in St. Paul, Minn.
What’s making people in Boston as jittery as a clam chowder shortage were the back-to-back losses to Detroit during the weekend that exposed a few flaws in the Northeast Division leaders’ armour.
They’ve also lost Marc Savard for the season with a concussion and the Flyers, the team that rallied to beat them in last year’s playoffs, are girding for spring as the Versteeg deal showed.
Boston might be able to make up some of Savard’s offence by shifting Blake Wheeler to centre, but the biggest lack of depth could be on defence behind Norris Trophy winner Zdeno Chara.
Johnny Boychuk, Mark Stuart and Adam McQuaid took them far last season, but not far enough.
They need a puck mover back there and the Leafs could have just the man in Tomas Kaberle, provided he waives that no trade clause that has been a deal killer so often before.
With Toronto facing virtual elimination if it doesn’t win a regulation game on this week’s Northeast swing, perhaps there will be a change of heart with the Czech at the end of the month.
Young Zach Bogosian in Atlanta is another name being mentioned, should the Thrashers fall out of the race in the next two weeks.
Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is more prepared for a trade than at any other time, with prospects, cap space and draft picks at his disposal, including the second Kessel selection.
When asked about Kaberle waiving his no-trade on Monday night, Burke declared the subject to be off limits to media snoopers, to be settled between himself, Kaberle and agent Rick Curran, who submitted a late list of teams at the 2010 deadline.
But it wasn’t that long ago that Boston was very keen on Kaberle and the 2009 draft day trade for Kessel and him in 2009 fell apart on the question of exchanging a draft pick.