December 05, 2008


Tomas Kaberle was utterly disrespected and embarrassed by coach Ron Wilson last night. And I'm not fucking happy about it.

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.


Bhattorious said...

Dude Kabby is playing like shit, i agree he dind't deserve to be benched the whole first period, maybe just miss a shit, and the 8AM practice this morning, WOW, How long will Wilson get away with treating the players the way you guys treat me in the hockey pool....oh and Navin, how close are the stats for both our teams....Damn...

blurr1974 said...

You and I and everyone else knew, with Kabby playing the way he was, a trip to the press box was on it's way. It was inevitable. I think Wilson, as coach, doesn't want the team to know what's coming. All he has as methods of retribution (for lack of a better word) are the press box and stapling a guy to the bench.

Kabby, as a star on this team, is expected to perform better than he has. I believe that is why he singled out Kaberle's play.

However, I also, after some time of reflection, feel he should be doing the same thing to Vesa. Yes, Ronnies options are far more limited in that respect, but he has been playing just as crappy.

I sent Kabby some love, but he still needs to shape up. Hopefully, a guy as humble as he gets pissed off at the attempt by Ronnie to embarrass him and goes on a tear. Nothing would make any of us happier.

mf37 said...

Even though it failed, I'm going to give Wilson the benefit of the doubt on this one. Clearly the Leafs are looking for a way to jump start Tomas and they thought a partial benching might be the ticket.

Like the Cujo shootout, they were way wrong, but at least they tried something.

Hopefully Kabs bounces back soon...

Anonymous said...

We're angry because we love Tomas Kaberle. Years of defending him are going up in smoke for some unknown reason. Does he need Burke to tell him that he's staying around forever? Does he need to be traded to Florida or Colorado or Sweden to be back with his buddies?

No one wants him to fail but what is it going to take to reverse this slide?

Also, Jeff Carter.

floridaLEAF said...

I'm there with you on the love for Kabby. I also believe Ron should have put him in the pressbox instead of what he did, but maybe Ron knows him better than we do and that's the method he thought would be most effective. It obviously wasn't last night, but let's give it another game and see how Tomas responds. I am betting (and hoping) he comes out focused and plays well Sat night. (If he gets to play or is still a Leaf...once again hoping)

Johnny G said...

I can't defend Kabbies play of late. He has very clearly not been up to par which I think we all can agree on.

I do however side with FloridaLeaf and Eyebeleaf on the issue of punishment. I think Ron should of stuck with the pressbox for Kabbie instead of the benching. But hopefully things get reversed.

On Ron calling him out in the media, I am fairly certain he has also singled out others in the media before, and I am not too sure Kabs should be held to any different standard.

Anonymous said...

Here's my question, if you banish Kaberle to the pressbox, who do you play instead? Jaime Sifers? Maybe that was part of the motivation behind the one period benching, there wasn't a suitable replacement with all the injuries.

PS. Remember when I half-jokingly suggested trading Toskala earlier in the year when he played a lights-out game? Doesn't seem like such a bad idea now does it!

Anonymous said...

its Kabby turn to shine & turn that frown upside down. either now or get traded. he's comments this morning on the radio seemed like he knew he has to step up his game. i hope he does!
don't knock toskala! he's a slow starter... :)

wrap around curl said...

Song for Kabs;

general borschevsky said...

I felt pretty much the same way you did eyebleaf. Especially after the 6th goal. It was a personal train wreck for Kaberle, and it was hard to watch.

He deserves so much better. Mostly he desrves better teammates.

Lori said...

Loved your take on this obviously ineffective and tactless douche move. You should ask me for Czech Republic stories sometime.

Unknown said...

want some cheese ya fuckin' winer? either he's a pro and WILL bounce back or he won't..he gets paid well enough to figure it out and DO SOMETHING when challenged to compete in a game that he a human you could empathize with his current a human he's great and nothing he does on or off the ice will change that....the coach was simply addressing his lack of performance...for 1 period! not like it was for a few games or a week.... get over it

Zack said...

If I had to hazard I guess, I would say two things threw Kabby off last night (getting to watch most of the game myself) the first would be since he didn't play the entire first period, he might have been able to hear the Coyote's play by play guy and Darren Pang talking, and well, it's so brutal I'm amazed he could even skate after.

Secondly, after the hat trick, apparently, one of the Coyote's ice girls is Darren Pang's daugther, and well, staring at her was pretty mind blowing to, so these two things combined? I can see how he could be so bad.

Navin Vaswani (@eyebleaf) said...

@ Bhatti: "What did I ever do but be a friend."

@ Blurr: You're right. If Kabby deserves that treatment from Wilson, so does Vesa.

@ MF37: That's why you're the rational fan, and that's why I'm the hotheaded fan. You make a good point. You know how I feel. I would have preferred the press box over the bench.

@ PPP: -10 for naming he who SHALL NOT BE NAMED.

@ Florida: I'm looking forward to tomorrow's game to see how Kabby responds. If he plays great, Wilson's a genius, I will love him again, and I'll admit that I'm an idiot.

@ Johnny: The act of a coach calling out his players in the media is one that gets tired real fast.

@ Lordosis: In our "rebuilding" year what's the problem with throwing Sifers in there?

@ Woodpeck: Like a few others have said, we're past the point of calling Toskala's performance a "slow start." Except for those two games against Ottawa and LA, he's been consistently bush.

@ Wrap: Big tune.

@ General: You my dawg.

@ Lori: It WAS an ineffective and tactless douche move. And I will definitely come to you for some Czech Republic stories. Good times.

@ David: I would like some cheese, actually. You're a sweetheart! How about some provolone?

@ Zack: Clearly I must google Darren Pang's daughter. I shall go do that now.

Thanks for all the comments, peoples. Love is there.

Anonymous said...

Really it was the best thing for him and the Leafs. Ronnie is going to get the Leafs playing like they actually earn their paychecks and this is just the first step.