Saturday, August 21, 2010

What's The Big Deal?

Hey look, it's Tomas Kaberle!I was just thinking about you. What you been doin' all summer?

Uh-huh. I've also been chillin'. Took a short vacation out west to BC. It's weird out there, man. They think the Sedin twins aren't creepy, a goalie for a Captain is cool, Trevor Linden is a legend, and Sundin made a bold decision. Lots of nice parks and fresh air though, which is good for the soul. Sometimes it's good to get away from it all, y'know? So anyway, weird seeing you out in this, uh..., furniture store?

Hey, now that we're together and seemingly alone, I should tell you, Kabby, people have been sayin' stuff about you. Ya... I heard people talking, brother...

"Three reasons I doubt he resigns: (1)The Leafs can’t afford him — he’s going to be asking for five years at $6M a season... (2)The NTC issue. No way Kaberle resigns without one, and Burke says he never gives them. (3)Lingering bad feelings on both sides... Add it all up and I’m betting he’s gone by the deadline."

That's a lot of money! And headaches. What a complicated situation!

"Kaberle needed to be moved by midnight Sunday. He wasn’t, leaving this now as a festering problem in the dressing room and for the organization."
-Damien Cox

I honestly don't know what dressing room he's talking about when the pre-season training camp hasn't even begun yet. I also think Damien's deliberately underestimating your professionalism - and Burke's - in an attempt to create drama where there is none for the sake of reader interest. It's highly pretentious.

"The Toronto Maple Leafs have a Tomas Kaberle problem. The longer it festers, the more likely it is to infect other regions of the dressing room... Like we said, Burke is no John Ferguson Jr. He doesn't want the Kaberle situation mucking up training camp, let alone festering through October and November."
-Dave "Original Content" Fuller

There it is again. "Kaberle... problem... festering... dressing room." What the fuck? When Damien did it, it was tabloid-puke and pretentious. But this is Dave's second act of borderline plagiarism in days. (Or is it his third?) Way to project a worst-case scenario and then report it as fact, without a single quote in your article. Well done, SunMedia. Dave Fuller should be writing for Bleacher Report.

"My inclination is to do nothing with the defence... We worked very hard to put this group together. And my inclination is to do nothing."
-Brian Burke

I don't get it. For whom have problems festered? Why would Burke be frustrated to still have a group of defenders that they'd worked so hard to put together in the first place? Why would he be resentful about his own prophetic inclination? Why do people not take things that widely-respected people say at face value?

"He’s not a carpetbagger. He’s not looking to go running around for the big money anywhere or anything… He said, ‘I love Toronto. I love being a Leaf. I have no interest in going anywhere else'."
-Rick Curran

Well, I'm taking that at face value. Shouldn't I? That's your agent, Tomas, and he says you don't want to leave and you don't care about money. This guy represents you, right?

"As corny as it sounds, he believes he is part of the solution... he truly believes it's just a matter of time before they enjoy some success and he wants to be there for that. It's really nothing more complicated than that."
-Rick Curran

It's not corny, if that's really how you feel, Kabby. But it is a little bit more complicated then that if you have an intolerable coach, and a salary cap to structure a team under. The solution, and you can be a big part of it just like you'd hoped, is easy: keep reading.

"I can't imagine how it will be to get along with Ron Wilson, who relies primarily on aggression and stress... In my opinion, I can't see Tomas entering a new contract with the club. No, not if Ron Wilson will continue to be employed in the future."
-Frantisek Kaberle

Hmm, that last name looks familiar... Hey, that's your Dad! How adorable. Do I sense a little paternal jealousy, maybe? I know you don't enjoy talking publicly about your relationship with the coach, and I seriously doubt you want to talk publicly about your relationship with your dad, so I don't know why your dad would be talking publicly about either, prompting questions about both. You might wanna give him a call.

You know what helps people get along real well? Success. Winning hockey games really eases the tension and builds camaraderie. On the other hand, if we're still floundering out of the playoffs by January, I doubt either you or Wilson will be very welcome much longer. In other words, it's a small boat, and you're in it together. Do your jobs and win hockey games. That's part one of the solution.

"I always look at the guys like Steve Yzerman and those guys that played on only one team. Obviously, these days, it's really tough to stay on one team your whole career... you never know what will happen in the summertime. Now I have to show I want to be here and play my best hockey."
-Tomas Kaberle

Now that one was you. Way back in March. Still relevant though, right? You must have been drunk or something 'cause you really opened up there for a minute. Well, okay, so then just the other day, I said to my buddy, blurr, I says,

"I guess I can see how it becomes mutually agreeable for a legendary player to take his last kick at the can somewhere else, but also how rare and special it is when a player of that calibre plays his entire career for one team."

You see, I was talking about Salming and Sundin, but I was actually thinking of you.

I don't think you do really need to play your best hockey right now. Just play within Wilson's system, move the puck quickly and gracefully to the forwards, and quietly help the team win with steady precision and calm consistency. Save your best, this year, for when it counts - the playoffs!!1. One way or another, plan to be there.

Now I doubt at any point, you and Burke will actually be in the same room together at the same time, but at some point this season, Burke's people will approach your people with an offer for a contract extension. Trust me, it will be a low-ball offer. Burke will tell you that he talked to all the other teams in the league, and they told him what you were worth and it didn't cover the cost of a plane ticket and skates, and that he's proactively subtracted a ten percent hometown-discount-and-loyalty-tax from your consensus value, and then stretched it out over 15 years. They will then present you with a locked briefcase with a dollar amount inside. My advice to you, Tomas, is:

Take the Deal!
Take the Deal!

The other option is an unceremonial ticket out of town, and a lot more heat, grief, and questions about your feelings along the way. There's no cause for concern here - you'll be well taken care of here in Toronto, Tomas, or wherever you go. But long after your playing days are over, where will you be remembered? Who will take care of you then? Here's an opportunity to really be "part of the solution" and to come out of this heroically. Take whatever deal Burke has to offer, without hesitation, and prove that honour, trust, and loyalty are still compatible with professional hockey.

Don't even open the briefcase or look inside. Just shake hands, say thank you, and wear that Leafs jersey with pride. Don't worry about the money, that'll come later when you open your first rotisserie chicken restaurant - Kabby's Championship Cluckhouse.

I'm being fucking serious with you now.

Lock it up, Tomas. Do the deal. Get 'er done. Make it a done deal. All that stuff. Then don't worry about it and go play hockey.

Maple Leaf For Life, for whatever's inside Burke's briefcase. It might even be one dollar - doesn't matter. We've come a long way in this relationship together, buddy. Both sides have shown a great deal of patience and respect. You know how we feel about you. We weren't going to give you up without a fight or a high price in return. Now it's up to you to make the commitment and show us what it's worth.

Otherwise, until then, it's just an awful lot of talk, and ya, it can get a bit distracting.


kidkawartha said...

My only quibble with this post is that it should be "Kabby's Killer Czech Championship Chicken Cluckhouse" which is just epic and reminds me of Lost.

general borschevsky said...

Hey kidk! That's beautiful. I love it.