Brian Burke and Tomas Kaberle may be relieved now, but rumors will return soon enough

Thumbnail image for tomaskaberle3.jpgLast night, I emphasized the fact that the Tomas Kaberle saga is far from over. It seems that both Brian Burke and Kaberle’s agent Rick Curran threw the word “relief” around when describing the now-passed window in which the defenseman’s no-trade clause was lifted, but I would add “temporary” to relief in this case.

Still, it’s obvious that Canada’s version of Hollywood stars are hockey players (with the occasional exception being Michael J. Fox, Mike Myers, Celine Dion and Nickelback). By that comparison, the Toronto media* makes up most of the paparazzi.

* – No, that doesn’t mean ALL Toronto media by ANY means. I hope that my use of all caps makes my message as obvious as possible there.

Thumbnail image for brianburke.jpgSo when you read quotes from Curran and Burke, it’s a bit difficult to tell if you should read between the lines. Is it lip service when Burke says he’s glad to keep Kaberle or could it just be that the Toronto media made the chances of a trade overblown? Either way, Curran says that Kaberle just hopes that things settles down, according to the Toronto Star.

“He’s just trying to get everything back to normal and makes plans to come back to Toronto,” said his agent Rick Curran after speaking with Kaberle this morning.

“He woke up in the morning and he was relieved to know he wasn’t going somewhere he didn’t know he’d be going to.”

“Now,” continued Curran. “I’m just quite hopeful that everything settles down. Let’s just let everything settle down.”

Chances are, things will only settle down for a brief moment. With one year left on his contract, Kaberle will be a natural target for two very different trains of thought: one will focus on the possibility of an extension with the Leafs while the other will revolve around a trade. The latter situation will boil to an Emma Stone level once the trading deadline approaches.

So, yes, Kaberle and Burke (and Curran) can take a brief reprieve from the rumor mongering. Maybe even for the rest of the summer. But like “Saw” sequels, the Kaberle rumors won’t ever go away and – let’s face it – they’ll pretty much be the same old thing over and over again.

Without the silly masks and gore, I hope.

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    Penguins, Kings among teams with notable waiver moves

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    If an NHL team wants to add a big winger with two Stanley Cup rings,* they merely need to make a waiver claim.

    TVA’s Renaud Lavoie tweeted out Tuesday’s list of waived players, with the Los Angeles Kings and Pittsburgh Penguins making some of the most interesting moves.

    In the case of the Kings, they waived Jordan Nolan and former Penguins backup Jeff Zatkoff. Here’s the full list, via Lavoie:

    There are some bullet points that can sell Nolan, but the 28-year-old’s production was quite limited at the NHL level. Nolan’s never scored 10 goals in a single season; in fact, he’s only reached 10 points once in his career (six goals and four assists in 64 regular-season contests back in 2013-14).

    Overall, it wouldn’t be surprising if a team targeted Nolan as a depth guy, even if his ceiling is limited.

    While the Penguins’ entries seem notable for sheer volume as much as anything else, Frank Corrado is another name that stands out.

    Corrado was often the catalyst for debates about his playing time (or lack thereof) with the Toronto Maple Leafs, but it doesn’t seem like the defenseman is having much success catching on with the Penguins, either.

    Zatkoff, meanwhile, fits in with quite a few other names on this list: possibly prominent in the AHL, only likely to get the occasional cup of coffee in the NHL, at this point.

    * – Yes, it’s OK to think of Jaromir Jagr before that sentence ends.

    Red Wings are ‘excited’ about Michael Rasmussen’s offensive upside

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    The Detroit Red Wings missed the playoffs for the first time in 25 years, but there appears to be something good that came from that.

    Instead of drafting in the back half of the first round, the Wings were able to get a top 10 selection in last June’s NHL Entry Draft. With the ninth overall pick, they chose power forward Michael Rasmussen.

    Rasmussen is listed at 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds. NHLers of that size are a rare breed. Add the fact that he’s gifted offensively, and it looks like the Red Wings may have a gem coming through the pipeline.

    In his first three career preseason games, the 18-year-old has already picked up two goals. His play hasn’t gone unnoticed by the organization.

    “I’m excited about him as a prospect,” head coach Jeff Blashill said, per MLive.com. “He’s big, he’s smooth, he’s got good hands, he’s got good offensive sense.”

    With all big forwards, a lot of their success will be determined by their skating ability. In today’s NHL, it’s pretty clear that you need to be able to move if you’re going to have a long and productive career. But according to Blashill, skating isn’t a big issue with Rasmussen.

    “I think he skates well. People have questioned that, but I don’t see that at all. I think he covers lots of ground in a hurry. I think he needs to move his feet a little bit more at times in the D-zone, but overall I’ve been happy with his play.”

    No matter what he does between now and the end of training camp, it sounds like Rasmussen will be heading back to the WHL’s Tri-City Americans, where he’ll look to improve his numbers from last year (32 goals, 55 points in 50 games).

    Luongo pushes through ‘mental, physical grind’ in comeback from hip injury

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    Roberto Luongo is back, taking part in the preseason for the Florida Panthers, in preparation for when the games begin to count in the standings.

    However, his latest comments suggest he didn’t know if that would indeed be the case, after suffering a hip injury that resulted in surgery following the 2015-16 season and then shut him down in March last season.

    “For a good two- to three-month period it was a battle mentally to just figure out if I could be able to ever come back,” Luongo told NHL.com. “I didn’t feel like I was getting better and it was constantly bothering me, so it was as much a mental grind as a physical grind from March until almost June if I could ever fully recover and feel good on the ice.”

    Luongo is now 38 years old and the rigorous demands of playing that position for more than 960 career regular season games — not to mention playoffs or international duty — can surely take a toll on the body. The Panthers have a good tandem in net with Luongo and James Reimer, but what will be intriguing as the season progresses is how head coach Bob Boughner divvies up playing time between the two, with Luongo appearing to be healthier and as Florida looks to get back into the postseason.

    The past several weeks, though, have been encouraging for Luongo. He returned to the ice well ahead of training camp and gave an optimistic report, saying there weren’t “any issues.” That was just over a month ago. He stopped all eight shots he faced during 31:26 of ice time in his preseason debut last week, which was a good start.

    Auston Matthews puts on a show in preseason tilt vs. Habs

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    Auston Matthews and William Nylander are showing no signs of any sophomore slump so far through the pre-season.

    Matthews had a hat trick and an assist and Nylander had a goal and two assists as the Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Montreal Canadiens 5-1 in an NHL preseason game on Monday night.

    Matthews scored his first goal of the game 47 seconds into the first period. His wrist shot from just inside the blue line went over the right shoulder of Canadiens goaltender Al Montoya.

    Matthews made it 2-0 at 4:56. Nylander’s initial shot went high, and Matthews batted down the rebound and into an open side of the net.

    He scored his third goal in the third period. While on a breakaway, Matthews shot the puck between the legs of Montoya at 3:46.

    Matthews has four goals and two assists in three preseason games.

    Jeff Petry scored for Montreal while on the power play at 11:37 of the second period.

    Nylander scored at 6:03 of the third period to give Toronto a 5-1 lead.

    Patrick Marleau also had a goal for Toronto while Frederik Andersen made 20 saves.