Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Montreal Canadiens Plus/Minus: Kaberle and the Fans

Tomas Kaberle - Vancouver Canucks v Boston Bruins - Game SixIt has been a busy week or so in Hab-land, hasn't it?

The team was assigned a new conference, Andrei Markov's absence was prolonged and, most interestingly, Pierre Gauthier shipped Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina in exchange for Tomas Kaberle.

In this week's edition of Montreal Canadiens Plus/Minus, we take a look at the acquisition of Tomas Kaberle, fan and media reaction to the move and also discuss the play of Alexei Emelin.


Kaberle's Cool Under Pressure: Much has been made of the Tomas Kaberle move over the last few days. One thing that has gone largely unmentionned, though, is that Tomas Kaberle has always been very cool under the pressure of the bright, Canadian spotlight.

Since 1999-2000, he had seven seasons of 40+ points while never falling below the 30 point plateau. All of this in spite the incessant trade rumors and constant media spotlight of his final seasons in Toronto.

His playoff numbers are not as gaudy, totalling 39 points in 102 contests. Nonetheless, the Czech blueliner has managed to collect a Stanley Cup , a World Championship and an Olympic Bronze Medal along the way.

His baggage in one of the toughest hockey markets in the world and his experience in winning environments should be most welcome additions in Montreal. That, and he moves the puck pretty well.

Alexei Emelin's Control: Coming to North America with the reputation of being a very physical defenceman, Alexei Emelin has also surprised with his control and discipline.

Typically accumulating anywhere between 75 and 198 penalty minutes per season in Russia, it seeemed reasonable to expect him to be a much nastier player.

However, the blueliner is on pace for only a meager 33 minutes this year while also on pace for a staggering 265 hits.

Emelin, while physical, has been keeping his game simple and clean. He has not shown the tendencies of a headhunter and does not get involved in any pointless post-whistle scrums. He plays his game, nothing more.

So far, comparisons to Darius Kasparitis seem a tad unwarranted. After all, the former Penguin accumulated over 1300 penalty minutes and played a far dirtier game.    


Fan and Media Reaction: When it was revealed that Tomas Kaberle was acquired in exchange for Jaroslav Spacek, you would almost think the second coming of Vladimir Malakhov had been announced. That is how negative some of the reaction to the deal was.

After all, Tomas Kaberle has been having a horrible time since he left Toronto and is clearly on the tail end of his career. Never mind that, just last season, he accumulated 47 points and hoisted the Stanley Cup.

But he did nothing to help the Bruins' dismal power play and was goalless with them. Conveniently, this ignores that, in the playoffs, he led Boston with five power play points and finished the post-season with a very respectable 11 points and +8 differential.

He was having a dismal year with Carolina. Who isn't it? Eric Staal is a whopping -18. Would you refuse to have him on your team because of it? Bad seasons on bad teams, it happens.

His contract is prohibitive and the team needs to re-sign Carey Price, P.K Subban and Josh Gorges at season's end. Never mind that many were more than willing to offer similar money to Roman Hamrlik or James Wisniewski this summer, it is true that Kaberle's contract may pose problems down the road.

But, being the General Manager of the Canadiens and all, one has to think that Pierre Gauthier possesses the ability to read and count. He, like the rest of us, knows what is on his plate.
What we do not know, however, is what the actual status of Andrei Markov's health. We also know nothing of Geoff Molson's willingness to bury a bad contract.

And no one knows what the salary cap and CBA will resemble next season.

In spite of this massive dearth in our collective knowledge, many are quick to point out that Kaberle and his contract are duds.

As a current Canadiens goaltender once suggested, perhaps we need to "chill out".

What are your thoughts? Is Emelin a dirty player? Do you like the Kaberle trade?

Louis is an Associate Editor at HabsAddict.com and an Editor at HabsWorld.net. Louis was born in Chicago but grew up in Quebec City where he earned Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration from Université Laval. He currently lives in Ottawa and works for the Coaching Association of Canada. He can be reached at l.moustakas@habsworld.net

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)


Remember that debate that when healthy Diaz would be sent to Hamilton and Emelin would get a regular shift......so much for that. First game with enough D-men and Emelin is sitting.

God damn I hate Martin

There is one good thing about Emelin's benching: I might already have a minus for next week.

Mind you, I don't dislike Diaz at all. But Campoli, Kaberle, Weber (on the fourth line, mind you) and Subban can all provide sufficent offensive spark from the point. Diaz is de trop.

Remember not too long ago every team wanted Kaberle, well I think he will bounce back and be awesome with Montreal. I loved this trade!

Let's all be honest here.I don't know what to think about the Kaberle deal.That being said....Let's wait and see.If it doesn't work Goodbye Martin and Gauthier.I'm starting to get very scared at what this team is coming to.

We are uni dimensional.....that's our issue. Look at this team and what line has the most success.....Cole-Pacioretty duo.....hmmmmmm I wonder why.

Diaz, Weber continue to play on an already small line-up. Thank you Mr. Martin.

I hope Kaberle makes his way a bit further west and comes back to Toronto. Playoffs stats for him were mentioned as I have been mentioning time and again, and all this while playing second last in minutes. There was nothing wrong with Kaberle that more time on the ice would not improve. His point total for amount of ice time would be tops on BB's.


Funny you should say that. A colleague of mine, a Leafs fan, said "You are welcome" when he found out Kaberle was headed to Montreal.

Leaf fans think its a good trade apparently.

Brilliant piece, Louis!

On Emelin, part of the reason he took so many penalties in the KHL is because that league frowns a little on rugged play. Emelin's toughness routinely landed him in the box for things that would never get called in the NHL.

On Kaberle, he does bring a lot of what Montreal needs to the table. The problem is that a lot of thing have to go right for this to work out...where few things have to go wrong for it to be a bad move.

The bottom line is that this is a roll of the dice that could look great or hurt the Habs badly.

We know the last roll of the dice didn't work out so well...cough, cough Scott Gomez.


Thanks for the kind words.

No doubt, emelin was probably called for things that would go unnoticed in the NHL. Still, with the reputation that seemed to preceed him and the occasional comparisons to Kasparitis, his discipline is somewhat of a pleasant surprise to me.

As for Kaberle, yes there is risk. But this is not Gomez-ian size risk. His deal is not untradeable and he has thrived in a Canadian city before.

Regardless, it is clear that PG will have his work cut out for him this summer.

You make a good point about Kaberle being used to playing under the spotlight in Canada. That being said, I'm still not sold on the move because of the contract.

Looks like Kaberle is working out offensively but on the defensive side of the puck this guy is horrible. I really like having Gorges and Subban together but we are going to get burned quite a bit if Campoli and Kaberle are paired together.

Now with the injury to Moen, I think it is seriously time to make a couple of roster changes and to pull the trigger to acquire a forward.

Although I would love to see Cammalleri shipped off because he is utterly useless I think we have to do the following.

1)Leblanc has to be sent back to Hamilton. He is not ready at all. Recall Dumont instead.

2) Weber has to be dealt. I truly have no idea what we can get for him but a 4th line forward is just not a solution.

3) Recall Blunden. He is a good 4th liner.

4) We need to get Cammalleri and Plekanec going.

5) I would love to see Nokelainen with a bigger responsibility defensively.

I would ice a roster like the following:


Defensively I would switch things up for a game against the flyers even though Diaz is playing well with a more balanced attack:


Post a Comment