Thursday, July 9, 2009

My Wife Thinks I Talk About Tomas Kaberle Too Much

Just look.
Look at this beautiful man. Look at the cool confidence he exudes, his poise and calm determination, his natural competitive intensity. He is the total package of skill and grace - casual, in control, ready to win. And this guy doesn't even play volleyball! He plays hockey. For us. The Toronto Maple Leafs. At least, for now he does, as long as nothing dramatic happens this summer.

Ah, but this post isn't just about the way he looks in a sexy, black, sleeveless t-shirt (though, it could be). Let's look at the way he plays... goalie.

Not bad.

How about we watch one of the league's best passers win the Shooting Accuracy contest at the NHL Skills Competition?

Awesome. And a little sad, too. This moment is the happiest I've seen Tomas in 3 years. The past 2 seasons Kaberle has been suffering from what I like to call "a startling non-commitment to execution", also known as "uninspired hockey". Still, after surviving the deconstruction of a terrible, dysfunctional team, plus a slow, painful year of rebuilding, Kaberle remains a Leaf (for now) and maintains his commitment to the uniform:

"I don't know how many times I have to tell people," Kaberle said at the time. "I want to be a Toronto Maple Leaf."

"My thing never changed. I signed here because I love to play for the Toronto Maple Leafs. That never changed. Let's leave it at that." Kaberle.

"My main focus is being a Leaf," said Kaberle. "I love being a Leaf. That's how it stands. I want to do my best here."

Love. Wow.
You wanna know the stats? Let's do it: 10 seasons, all with the Maple Leafs. The longest serving Maple Leaf by far right now with 738 games (12th all time, one behind Bob Baun, 39 behind Domi). 433 points, good for 16th all-time, one ahead of Syl Apps and likely to pass Wendel Clark(441), Doug Gilmour(452), Tim Horton(458), and Lanny McDonald(459) this season to move up to 12th. When he reaches 459 and ties Lanny, he'll move one ahead of Horton and become the Leafs' 2nd highest scoring defenceman ever, behind only the legendary Salming. 73 goals, 28 on the powerplay, 14 game winning goals, 360 assists (6th all-time, 2nd for defenceman), and an impressive plus 43. Also, the 2nd last Leaf player to score an overtime goal in the playoffs:

That was from Game 3, 2003, against the Flyers. Travis Green would actually score the Leafs' last overtime playoff goal that same series in Game Six but that's the kind of thing someone like me could easily overlook.

PPP mentioned this excellent quote once in a Game Thread and I actually just found it in a great little piece by Paul Hunter from January 2007:

Everything proceeded according to script until the new coach hit upon the subject of the power-play breakout. "They all looked at me like I had three heads... We give it to him," the players said, almost in unison, motioning toward defenceman Tomas Kaberle. "They were serious," continued Maurice. "It's the Kaberle breakout. Give it to Tomas, let him bring the puck up-ice and we'll set it up from there."

That's right. Nobody takes the puck from blue line to blue line like Tomas Kaberle. Nobody. And of course, the man makes a cross-ice pass like you wouldn't believe.

Interestingly, from the same article is another good quote from that terrible coach:

"I also think that most of the defencemen that get the recognition have... played on great defensive teams. I don't think Toronto has ever had that handle of being a shutdown defensive team."

Hmmm... I wonder what kind of team Burke wants us to be this year? A shutdown defensive team, maybe? Is this the year Kaberle finally gets the recognition he deserves? The point is, I think, that maybe with the right elements in place (Komisarek, Beauchemin, Exelby, Orr) protecting the goal and their teammates, Kaberle should be free to do what he does best, with a renewed commitment to execution.

"Do something with the puck; whenever I get the chance I try to do it. It's my comfort level. That's the way I always play," Kaberle said. "That's probably my game, if someone would talk about it."

Well, I don't mind talking about it, but my wife is bored to tears. Not that she thinks Burke should trade Kabby, but she fails to appreciate that one of the most talented Leafs of our generation is also one of the most charming and modest hockey players around as well. She also doesn't care about hockey at all.

Kaberle cares.

"I'm happiest when I make a nice pass for a goal".

Says it all right there.


Jennifer Hammer said...

I shouldn't comment cuz I've had some gin and tonic, but what an excellent post. I absolutely love Tomas Kaberle. Love. It's the only thing keeping me watching the Leafs this long. Now that Burke's been building a team, it just makes it better.

Archi said...

Brown shoes and a brown belt on a shirt with brown stripes, complete with brown pants?

I approve.

Tomas should stick around.

bkblades said...

Coordination, Archi. He makes pinpoint passes, uncanny vision, and anticipation skills like few possess. Great fashion sense doesn't surprise me one bit.

And say no to trading Kaberle.

Unknown said...

My girlfriend loves her some Kaberle (or sweetcheeks as she comes him) and will be immensely disappointed if he goes.
I vote no on trading Kaberle!

daoust said...

Fantastic post General. You know where I stand on this, fingers crossed that Tomas is still with us come October. With a bigger and better defensive team around him, I think he could have an outstanding year.

janeybell said...

Very nice post. Just twists that knife a little deeper that Hurricane's fans got the short end of the Kaberle stick. Wanna trade?

floridaLEAF said...

AMEN, brotha'

Kabby needs to stay a Leaf. We will be a much better team with him.

kidkawartha said...

I love him, too, general. There are the usual arguments that his trade value will never be higher, and that he, may, repeat, may miss all the players he spent such a long time with, day in and day out, on the Leaf's roster, but if he stays b/c a high enough valued trade never materializes, then we will certainly not have lost out. Ultimately, if Burkie loves him as much as we do, maybe he should re-sign him to 5 years at $4.5 million and alter his NTC to one more like Komisarek's. Here's hoping this year's roster will see him return to his previous passion levels as he senses he may have a shot at the Cup in the next few years- he just seemed to be "down" last year.

kidkawartha said...

Might I also note that Leaf fans are the most sexually secure sports fans on the continent?
Yet another reason to join LeafNation.
"You know what? I don't care. I'm my own guy. I'm very secure with my sexuality. I can cry anytime I want."
-Brett Hull

general borschevsky said...

"Dave Schultz"! We got a few others worth watching, like Schenn, Grabbo, and Kulemin, but Kaberle playing his best is pure joy. Love it when you drop by.

ar-KEE! Or is it Archi? I wasn't sure about that last picture but now I'm glad I included it. Thanks for the comment.

bkblades! The "no" campaign seems to be picking up steam. Thanks for the support.

Mike! ..."sweetcheeks as she comes him"? That's an awesome Freudian slip. Cheers!

daoust! Your comments at PensionPlanPuppets helped inspire this post.

janeybell! There was a time when I really wanted to see Tomas and Frantisek united in Toronto.
Carolina On Ice looks like a wicked blog. I'm surprised to get a comment from a Hurricane's fan with so much going on in NASCAR these days. And you didn't even give me a hard time about calling Paul Maurice a "terrible coach". You're welcome in the General Area, anytime.

floridaLeaf! Agreed. Kaberle is at the top of the depth chart. Losing him would lower the overall skill rating of the entire team.

kidkwartha! He did seem down a bit, especially at the end of last season. Hopefully his hand is all better now. I guess if he's using it to play volleyball that's a good sign, right? A contract extension to lock up Kaberle for the next 4 years at a home-town discount with a flexable NMC would be brilliant.

janeybell said...

General: There are plenty of Canes fans around here who would agree with you whole heartedly about Mo, no stress there. On the other hand, watch the NASCAR crap....I absolutely loathe NASCAR. I'm bitch enough that I laughed when I heard Earnhardt crashed and died.

general borschevsky said...

Holy smokes. Cheers, janeybell! I don't think I'll ever watch that "NASCAR crap" but your point is extremely well taken. In all seriousness, Carolina seems to have an awesome fan base.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

General: the quotes, the pictures, the videos.

I think I've read/watched this post about 10 times already.


If there's anyone out there who appreciates Tomas Kaberle, it's you.

Kabby for life.

Thanks for this.

general borschevsky said...

eyebleaf!!!1 This post wouldn't be complete without you. Cheers, brother.

Archi said...


Archi is the spelling, Ar-kee is the pronunciation.

general borschevsky said...

Cool. A little less of a mystique now, but thanks for clearing that up. Peace, Archi!

Jennifer Hammer said...

Anytime General.

And Janeybell is good people.

Hungry Leafs Fan said...

I guess with all the extra D, a lot of us have already assumed Tomas is as good as traded. I have a few friends who is still bitter about the Jeff Carter thing but I'll tell you what. When I heard about the rumour, I said no way they would trade a bona fide stud like Kaberle for a potential bust like Carter. Sure, it's easy to make the deal in hindsight but at the time, Carter showed no indication of being a 40 goal scorer. I'm not sure my heart could handle seeing Tomas in nasty Flyers orange either.

Thanks for the excellent post. Here's to another year of watching Kaberle weave in and out of the neutral zone.

general borschevsky said...

@"DS": No doubt.

Hungry Leafs Fan! Welcome aboard. I'll be keeping an eye on your blog
as well. Looks hilarious. You make a great point about Carter. He wasn't the player he is now when that offer was on the table and there's no way it'll ever come up again. Could be Tomas rejected the trade just 'cause he couldn't stomach the idea of wearing a Flyers jersey. That's be completely understandable. Thanks for dropping by!