WELL KNOCK ME DOWN AND CALL ME SUSAN…


(…with apologies to that very funny guy eating chicken wings on that TV commercial.)

Tomas Kaberle picks up two assists — one of them on a POWER PLAY GOAL (yes, I’m shouting) in his Habs’ debut as the Canadiens beat the Jersey Devils 2-1 Saturday afternoon.

Great. Two assists. Tomas Kaberle is money in the bank. Or at least he was, in his opening 60 minutes as a member of the Bleu, Blanc, Rouge. Personally, I’d like to see what we’re going to get out of Kaberle for the rest of the regular season and (dare I say it) into the playoffs.

Kaberle took to the ice in New Jersey after being acquired from the Carolina Hurricanes (who were only too happy to get his fat salary off the books) in exchange for Jaroslav Spacek. And wouldn’t you know it: Spacek picks up two assists in HIS first game as a member of Kirk Muller’s Hurricanes, be it in a losing cause.

Spacek was into his final season as a member of the Canadiens: obtained during the off-season of massive change as an unrestricted free agent; during the same wave which saw Bob Gainey pick up the likes of Brian Gionta and Michael Cammalleri as UFA’s. Spacek was a solid citizen with the Habs during his stay in Montreal — although he spent much of this season in sick bay. I don’t think he ever delivered as per the expectations when Canadiens signed him. A few too many sketchy defensive moments and not enough offensive upside: but, by and large, I have no problems with his record as a member of the Habs.

The fact that the Canadiens sent him to Carolina for Kaberle tells me three things: GM Pierre Gauthier was desperate to shore up his power play with a defenceman who can move the puck and get a decent shot away from the point; that we’ll be lucky if we see Andrei Markov play a game this season, before the playoffs (just a hunch on my part); and Yannick Weber has taken a step back in his development in becomming a full-time blueliner on this team.

Although I’m less than impressed wit the deal that brings Kaberle and his contract to Montreal, I do give Gauthier credit in going out there and making a deal for a player he truly believes will help this team. Gauthier put his money where his mouth is. The question is: was it money well spent. I have my serious doubts.

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About ahefter

I have covered hockey extensively during my 30-year sports broadcasting career. From the Miracle on Ice at Lake Placid to the Edmonton Oiler dynasty years, I've shared my views on hockey with listeners in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. You can "catch me in action" on Youtube at the following URL: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n5BdB9ngYw My radio stops include TSN 690 Montreal, CJAD Montreal, CKNW Vancouver, and CKEY Toronto. I also ran the Canadian Press sports desk (radio). My travels as a network reporter have taken me to four Olympics, most recently Vancouver 2010. I'm currently an Applied Assistant Professor within the School of Communication at the University of Hartford.
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