For those of you that missed last night's quasi-late contest between the Leafs and the Phoenix Coyotes, Kaberle was in uniform, but didn't see a shift - not one - in the first period.
Apparently Ron Wilson was trying to send a message to his beleaguered defenceman. And it didn't work. Wilson's experiment was, as my good friend MF37 called it in an email after the game, an "epic failure." Kaberle saw 13:45 of action in periods two and three, and was downright awful. Can you blame him? Kabby was singled out by his coach in front of his teammates, and all of us watching on television. Wilson's brilliant plan backfired.
Before you get your panties all tied up in a knot, let me be the first to admit that Kaberle hasn't been playing up to the standards expected of him this season. He's performed poorly. On numerous occasions over the last couple of months, after another puck has found its way into the back of the Maple Leafs' net, I've texted my brother asking him, "what the fuck was Kaberle doing on that play?!?"
But that doesn't give Wilson the right to humiliate Tomas in front of all of his teammates. Believe me, I get that Wilson is trying to send his message of accountability far and wide, but why wasn't Kaberle banished to the press box, much like Matt Stajan and Jason Blake were earlier in the season? I honestly would have had no problem with that. I do have a problem with Kaberle, one of Toronto's leaders, suiting up and sitting on the bench for 40 minutes, freezing his Czech Republican ass off.
It was a disgusting move on Wilson's part. A part of me honestly believes that embarrassing Kaberle was a way to force his hand. A way to make sure that he agrees to waive his no trade clause when he's inevitably asked to do so.
Kabby's only human, just like you and I. He feels pain. Imagine how he felt setting on the bench. Surely his Maple Leafs career was flashing before his very eyes. Imagine how he felt in the dressing room in the first intermission. Surely he was thinking about the no-trade in his clause in his contract. Imagine how he felt trying to look his teammates in the eye. Kabby deserved more than that.
Unbelievably, it actually got worse for Tomas. It wasn't enough for Wilson to bench him, and then have him play like the second coming of Andy Wozniewksi. Nope, Wilson had to take a shot at him after the game as well. When asked if he was trying to send a message to #15, Wilson said yes, and that Kabby sent a message back with his -3 performance. In my humble and pissed off opinion, Wilson set Kaberle up to fail last night, and then had the nerve to call him out in the media. Stay classy, Ron, you asshole.
I've also got to voice my disappointment in some of my fellow Leafs fans over at PPP, who seem to, as MF37 put it, take a "perverse delight" in seeing my main man Kaberle struggle, and get benched. You guys know who you are. I guess it pleases you to see another member of our beloved team reach his lowest value in terms of a trade. Bring on more of the Jeff Carter and Chris Pronger references, fellas. That shit never gets old.
Clearly it's Tomas Kaberle's fault that Toronto can't keep the puck out of their own net. Clearly it's Kabby's fault that Toskala's sporting a pathetic .882 save percentage. Clearly it's Tomas' fault the Leafs can kill only 75% of their penalties.
I love how Ron Wilson preaches to the choir about accountability, while he coaches the worst defensive team in hockey. Where's his accountability?
I'm off Wilson. Huge.