Maple Leafs name alternate captains, Tomas Kaberle not among them

GYI0061833938-kaberle-abelimages-getty.jpgIt wouldn’t be a Maple Leafs season without a little bit of controversy, right? Today, the Leafs announced who would be serving as the team’s alternate captains to team captain Dion Phaneuf. Not surprisingly, two defensemen were chosen. Surprisingly, one of them wasn’t a guy who served as an alternate captain in previous Leafs seasons and is the guy on the Leafs roster who has been there the longest.

As Tomas Kaberle enters the final year of his contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the veteran defenceman has been stripped of his alternate captain duties.

Leafs head coach Ron Wilson has announced that defencemen Mike Komisarek and Francois Beauchemin will serve as alternates this season, leaving Kaberle — the longest-serving Maple Leaf on the current squad — without a letter.

Kaberle, the second-highest scoring defenceman in Leafs franchise history, was one of three alternates last season and has worn the ‘A’ for several years. He has spent all 11 seasons of his NHL career with the Leafs.

Kaberle’s off-season with Toronto was a bit tumultuous with rumors about being traded, ultimately not being traded, and after all that, having his father claim that Kaberle isn’t happy with Leafs head coach Ron Wilson. Throwing this sort of talk show fodder into the mix certainly won’t help keep things quiet in Toronto. For the Leafs, however, this captain crew shows the way the team wants to be lead. They want guys who are a physical presence and defensively tough to show the way to the rest of the team.

Of course, that would be the logical way to look at things. If we’re in the business of stirring up a hornet’s nest and causing trouble for everyone, we could call this Brian Burke and Ron Wilson’s revenge at Kaberle for all the discord over the last couple years and this is their way of getting one more shot in on him while he’s on the final year of his contract in Toronto. I think that paragraph now qualifies us for tabloid work in Toronto.

(Photo: Abelimages – Getty Photos)

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    Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

    Niklas Kronwall
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    When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

    (His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

    It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

    He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

    First, the Kronwalling:

    Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

    It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

    Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

    Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

    Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

    Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

    It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

    To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

    The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

    That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

    They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

    Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


    More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

    In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

    Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

    Jack Eichel
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    The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

    You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

    That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

    Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

    Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


    Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

    While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

    In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

    The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?