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Speculation With Kaberle Continues

by Mike Ulmer / Toronto Maple Leafs
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This will be the second-last blog I write on Tomas Kaberle.

The final one will come when he is traded, or by some miracle, re-signed by the Maple Leafs.

Trade rumours concerning Tomas Kaberle started on simmer at the beginning of the season. They bubbled nicely before taking off around the March 3 trading deadline. Now they have until August 15 to be rendered into something real.

You read more on Tomas Kaberle than any other Leaf this season. He has had more names connected to him than Madonna. The year before he was supposed to have vetoed a deal that would have brought him to Philadelphia for Jeff Carter and a first rounder. Now the names are less grand but still tantalizing, Drew Stafford in Buffalo, Devin Setoguchi in San Jose, Ryan Malone in Tampa. Feel free to pencil in your own candidate. Everyone else has.

A scan of your Czech\English dictionary will reveal that Kaberle actually means ‘one who moves in rumour and not in fact.’

The Tomas Kaberle story has, to coin a term from the music business ‘crossed over.’  The main problem with the holdup of the Ilya Kovalchuk deal: it is stalling the Kaberle trade. Ask yourself this: what effect has the Gulf oil spill had on the Tomas Kaberle trade? And we’re not even mentioning the controversy surrounding the ordination of female clergy and its effect on Tomas Kaberle.

Like Wonder Woman’s invisible plane, there are dozens of discrete teams believed to be reconnoitering the Leaf roster from just beyond the clouds, just waiting for the chance to scoop him up.

Or maybe not.

What is he worth? Who wants him? At what price? The last veil seems sure to drop.

This is no criticism of Tomas Kaberle. He’s a good guy, a good teammate and one of the best guys in the league at what he does (find safe places for the puck in his own end, set up the shot on the power play, spring forwards with uncannily accurate passes).

I don’t think there is anyone on the roster who can touch him in those three areas. There is no one on the free agent market with a remotely similar skill set. Meanwhile the Leafs depth up front is not unlike that of a wading pool. Things happen when there is mutual benefit and there is plenty to go around.

August is not hockey season, or at least it wasn’t. That it is now is just one of the many curses inflicted on us by Peter Pocklington, who sent Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles on Aug. 9, 1988. Now, the hockey fan or professional writer must be diligent all the way through the indolent days of summer.

I wake up every day; perhaps we have that in common. My first thought is about being naked and diving for cover around my neighbour’s laundry line. That’s when I realize I was dreaming. The instant that thought seeps through the permafrost of my still-waking mind, I begin to wonder whether this is the day the Leafs trade Tomas Kaberle.

I go online and check the newspapers. If I am feeling particularly weak-willed, I scan the internet rumour mills.

I conjure up multi-player deals. I juggle lineups. I cuss to get myself thinking like Brian Burke. I think about Tomas Kaberle more than Tomas Kaberle does.

I would love to have my summer back and wake up thinking about the sand in the zipper of my sleeping bag. I am ready to purge the game from my short-term memory.

But I will miss the mental gymnastics. I will miss the trade scenarios. And I think I will find that knowing about Tomas Kaberle future won’t be nearly as arresting as wondering about it.
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