Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford said last week that he was not happy with Kaberle's play and if he continued down his current path he wouldn't be with the club much longer. Rutherford found a partner in Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier, who has acquired a player in Kaberle that has 9 assists and a minus-12 rating in 29 games.
In return, the Hurricanes are getting Spacek, who has 3 assists and a plus-2 rating in 12 games this season. Spacek, though, hasn't played since Nov. 12 due to an upper-body injury, but he was cleared for contact earlier this week and was considered a possibility to play for the Habs Saturday afternoon at New Jersey.
After playing in Winnipeg on Friday, the Hurricanes don't play again until Tuesday in Toronto.
The Hurricanes signed Kaberle over the summer and were so convinced he could help them that they immediately traded Joe Corvo to the Boston Bruins. Kaberle, who was coming off winning the Stanley Cup with the Bruins, was far from a hit in Carolina, leading Rutherford to go on XM Radio's NHL Home Ice and blast the struggling defenseman.
"He came into camp and didn't prepare himself properly," Rutherford said. "He came in like the Boston Bruins did after winning the Stanley Cup and enjoyed his summer, and he hasn't caught up. He got off to a slow start by his own doing and now he has to figure out a way to get out of it or he won't be playing with the Hurricanes long."
Kaberle, though, had 2 assists in each of his final two games with the Hurricanes, and helped new coach Kirk Muller pick up his first win Wednesday night in Edmonton.
Spacek has missed the last 12 games after suffering an upper-body injury in the second period of the Canadiens' 3-2 shootout loss to Buffalo on Nov. 14. He also missed five games earlier in the season with an upper-body injury.
When things aren't going well for us in this city [Toronto], I think there is a lot of overanalyzing going on. You've got the most passionate fans in the world here and a lot of (media) coverage, so you know there's going to be a lot of people giving their two cents worth on us.
— Toronto Maple Leafs forward James van Riemsdyk after a win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday