Now that he’s cleared waivers and looks to be in the lineup tomorrow night, it’s back to business for Frank Kaberle.
“It’s not such a new situation, this happens fairly regularly, and we explain that,” said Paul Maurice of having a waived player remain on the team. “For some players, Kyle Wellwood, just to name one, it turns out to be an inflection or a turning point in their career, although clearly he’s not 24 years old anymore.”
Wellwood, now 25, played for Maurice in Toronto, and has gone on to score 13 goals for Vancouver so far this year
Given his situation, Kaberle, who turned 35 last month, didn’t seem surprised to still be a Hurricane at noon today.
“After the injury I haven’t played much,” he said. “It’s hard with one more year, nobody was probably going to take me, so I don’t know what’s going to happen after. We’ll see.”
Both Maurice and Kaberle pointed to his leg injury, which originally occurred on October 17 and has caused him to miss a total of 24 games this season, as a factor in why the team decided to waive him.
“When Frankie came to camp, in my understanding in great shape, he worked hard, really looked focused and really looked good,” said Maurice. “Then he had the injury and he hasn’t gotten back to where he was. Then we saw some younger defensemen.”
“Before the injury happened I felt great and I think I played good,” said Kaberle. “It’s bad luck.”
Kaberle’s playing prospects increased during today’s practice when Niclas Wallin may have suffered a recurrence of his own injury. While participating in full contact for the first time in several days, his outstretched ankle was hit hard into the boards, causing him to double up in pain and leave the ice early.
According to Maurice, who saw the same thing happen to Tim Gleason during his recovery last month, it might not be as bad as it seemed.
“Pete (Friesen) said I guarantee you this is going to happen – he’s going to roll this thing in the first practice and he’s going to feel like it’s awful, then we’ll take him off and ice it and he’s going to be OK. Right now I’m (crossing my fingers).”
That opens the door at least temporarily for Kaberle, although Maurice made it clear that it shouldn’t be considered shut in the first place.
“That being said, he may never miss a game, and sometimes it’s a good tool.”
Flu update: Joni Pitkanen was back today, while Wade Brookbank remained at home largely for precautionary reasons. No one else seems to be feeling under the weather.