It feels like there have been rumors about Tomas Kaberle leaving the Maple Leafs since the team went from disappointing to lottery fodder, but perhaps the exodus will happen voluntarily (instead of via trade as what is usually hinted at). Apparently, according to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, Kaberle and coach Ron Wilson aren’t getting along and that might finally push out the Leafs’ smooth defenseman.
The historically quiet and almost non-combative defenceman has told old friends he “can’t stand playing for Wilson” and as much as he has loved playing for the Leafs and living in Toronto throughout his National Hockey League career, even through five straight seasons out of the playoffs, he is prepared to move on because he is unhappy with the manner in which Wilson coaches the Leafs and the lack of respect he shows for the players.
“He’s had enough,” a good friend said. “He’s at his wit’s end with the guy.”
And the feeling, in fact, may be mutual.
The latest shot fired by Wilson came Tuesday after the Leafs lost to the Atlanta Thrashers. After the game, almost unsolicited, Wilson singled out his defence for the defeat, in particular he pointed in the direction of Kaberle and Francois Beauchemin, whom he didn’t name but identified by their high plus-minus figures.
One reason he might (finally) be traded from the Maple Leafs is the fact that his no trade clause is about to expire. He’s also going to be an unrestricted free agent after next season, so expect the seemingly eternal Kaberle trade talk to heat up even more.
His $4.25 million cap hit is reasonable and even if he’s far from perfect in his own end, there’s no denying that the puck moving defenseman can put up points. The question is, will he be doing that for the Leafs next season?
But the chance for at least a single point slipped at the worst possible time, as Jonathan Toews scored with 1:18 left in regulation and then set up an empty net goal from Marian Hossa just a few seconds later to secure the 4-2 win.
The Canucks remain stuck at five wins — just five wins — on the road. They have the 29th-ranked road record in the entire NHL. Only the Arizona Coyotes have been worse away from home ice. So, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed down the stretch.
Vancouver had a chance to move into a wild card spot. Instead, they let the Blackhawks regain momentum as the period went on, and as a result, they remain on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture for right now.
Corey Crawford earned his 200th career win, making 26 saves. That’s a milestone night for him. For Toews, that’s his most productive night of the season, as he factored into all four Chicago goals, which, of course, included the winner.
So overtime against the New York Islanders seemed like a perfect time for captain Claude Giroux to bust his scoring slump.
Without a goal in his last 12 games, or since Dec. 21 before the holiday break, Giroux finished the Flyers comeback with an overtime goal to give Philly a 3-2 victory on Sunday. Jakub Voracek did great work along the boards to force a turnover from John Tavares, and Shayne Gostisbehere followed up his chance with a quick pass to a wide-open Giroux at the top of the crease.
That comeback win — Philly trailed by two goals early in the second period — bumps the Flyers back into a wild card spot.
Steve Mason had a big game in net for Philly, with 36 saves, while the Flyers fired 47 shots on goal toward Thomas Greiss, although it’s a difficult task trying to re-set and stop Giroux — an accomplished scorer in the NHL — on the doorstep.
Goals, goals and more goals! Blue Jackets outlast Senators for overtime win
Plenty of goals. A little three-on-three overtime. Seemed like an enjoyable afternoon of hockey between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Well, maybe the goalies, Mike Condon and Joonas Korpisalo, didn’t enjoy it as much.
The Blue Jackets prevailed for a 7-6 overtime win, with Cam Atkinson scoring just 1:09 into the extra period. That’s his 23rd goal of the season. Only two players — Jeff Carter (24) and Sidney Crosby (28) — have scored more goals than Atkinson this season.
With the win, and the Capitals sitting idle today, the Blue Jackets move back into a tie with Washington at 68 points in the fight for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
There were some anxious moments for Columbus.
Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski was hurt blocking a shot in the third period. He briefly left the game, unable to put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off.
The good news: He only missed a few minutes, returning late in regulation and for the overtime as well, which is important for the Blue Jackets.
#CBJ Zach Werenski said on @FOXSportsOH post-game he "thought it was broken" and "long term" injury when he blocked the shot.
“He’s made a couple of huge mistakes in a game and he comes to the bench, shakes it off and then goes out and makes a great play. For a 19-year-old playing that position and the amount of time he’s getting in key situations with this organization, it’s pretty impressive.”