Kaberle out for season?
Welcome to life without Tomas Kaberle. Kubina, and others, might have to get used to it.If true, this would be an immense loss for the Maple Leafs — and all of a sudden the off-season acquisition of Pavel Kubina, until this point superfluous, is wholly necessary.
Kaberle, who is by far Toronto's best defenceman, is still suffering from the effects of a concussion suffered Friday night after a cheap-shot hit from New Jersey goon Cam Janssen. The club set a target goal of a week to 10 days for his return — a timeframe that Kaberle's agent, Rick Curran, immediately downplayed. But sources familiar with the situation have told the Post that Kaberle will not, in fact, return this season.
"He's done," one source told the Post.
Tomas Kaberle is Toronto's best defenceman, skates in 26 minutes per game and was on pace for 62 points this season. He, more often than not, is the key to the team's breakouts, and a central figure on the power play. Offensively, he's definitely one of the Top 10 blueliners in the league, and probably among the Top 20 overall.
The Leafs average 3.30 goals for per 60 minutes when Kaberle's on the ice, and just 2.72 without him.
Most troubling, however, might be the fact that GM John Ferguson dealt away Brendan Bell at the trade deadline, leaving a hole now on the blueline that's going to have to be patched with a top six of McCabe/Kubina/Gill/White/Colaiacovo/Wozniewski.
And don't forget Wade Belak.
And given that the team which sneaks into the Eastern Conference playoff picture is likely going to need the equivalent of a 10-5-0 run to close the season, a second consecutive playoff miss seems probable.
Not that there's not a built-in excuse; I'm quite certain that Toronto is among the league leaders this season in man-games lost to injury.
As for Kaberle, maybe the biggest concern shouldn't be his return this season, but rather his status in the future. Here's my friend Pete Evans:
Goddamn Janssen. Kaberle's been an unheralded favourite of mine for years, and he's only starting to get the recognition he deserves. If that hit is the one that turns him into a concussion-prone shell of his former self, I want vengeance.A sentiment we're hearing from a lot of Leafs fans today.
- Kaberle denies his season is over [The Globe and Mail]