By Steve Farnham,

MONTREAL, QC. — The trade sending Tomas Kaberle from the Carolina Hurricanes to the Montreal Canadiens, in exchange for Jaroslav Spacek generated quite a few reactions around the league, from both the media and the fans. The trade was surprising in a way, knowing how well liked Spacek was within the room, and this was quite evident by the reactions of his now ex-teammates following the trade.


“This is the tough part of the job, losing a friend and a good teammate to another team. You never want to lose a teammate. You start off with a group and you want to win as a group. … But it’s part of the business. When you don’t win games, things happen, trades happen, people get fired. It’s not fun when you’re not winning. If you’re not paying attention, you should be now. There’s no one like Spatcho, and that’s a good thing.” – Hal Gill

“We not only lose a great player but a good teammate in Spatcho, he was a great person and I enjoyed playing with him. He was a veteran guy who passed on to us young guys his wealth of experience. I wished him the best and let him know I was thankful for the time he played here and for all the advice he gave me as a young guy coming in. You’ll remember that stuff the rest of your life, playing with a guy who’s been around such a long time. Spatchoman will be missed.” – P.K. Subban

“It’s always a sad thing to see [a trade] happen. Spatcho was really liked by everybody in this room. He loved to be around the boys. Everybody’s sad he’s left, but that’s the life of a hockey player.” – Tomas Plekanec

I, for one, don’t quite understand the move, even though I do. I understand the mentality, the mentality that if you can make your team just good enough to make the playoffs, the season starts over on equal fitting for all, and some say you have just as good a chance as anyone to go all the way. I disagree with this mentality and time has proven that if you’re not a top team, squeezing into the playoffs gives you very little chance to go all the way.

Friend of All Habs @kyleroussel wrote an interesting piece about the chances a team has of winning the cup, based on whether they have home-ice advantage or not, I invite you to read it. @Habswatch, who is also a friend of All Habs also wrote an interesting piece on how costly Jacques Martin’s system is to the Habs’ success. If you agree with his assessment, which I do, I fail to see how Kaberle will be effective as a Canadien in the long-run. Time will tell.

I categorize this move as a move that a team would do if they are in a cup contending position, like the Bruins were last season. In the end, the deal didn’t work out too well for them but it didn’t really matter. They had enough depth to overcome the fact that the deal didn’t work out, and also, he was at the end of his contract so the commitment was only minimal.

Nick Laham/Getty Images

In Montreal’s case, the commitment is this season and two more. This brings about in me many reactions.

  • What does this mean about Andrei Markov’s return?
  • What does this mean about Josh Gorges, being in the Habs’ long-term plans?
  • What does this mean for the Montreal Canadiens young defensive unit, more precisely the likes of Yannick Weber, Alexei Emelin and Raphael Diaz?
For now, many questions without answers, as injuries to both Markov and Chris Campoli make everything quite a bit foggy.

Overall, I feel like the Montreal Canadiens are doing what they’ve always done. Attempting to make this team good, without making it great. Sometimes, you need to fall down before you can get back up again. Montreal is refusing to fall all the way down. Does Kaberle make this team better? Right now I believe he does, but if this means he’s making the team good, at the cost of making it great in the long run, than I have an issue.

Don’t get me wrong, this is not about me having a problem with Kaberle, as I have nothing against him personally or as a hockey player. I just don’t believe his contract situation is appropriate for the position the Montreal Canadiens are in, a position that I feel they should be counting on youth in order to rebuild, rather than costly veterans in an attempt to plug a leaking boat.

And now, the Tomas Kaberle trade, in tweets:


[blackbirdpie url=”!/DarrenDreger/status/145179628267507712″]

Trade Breaker, and the chaos begins…

[blackbirdpie url=”!/N24Nicholson/status/145180067616661505″]

Yes he is, Kirk Muller found him, didn’t want him, shipped him to… holy crap, Kirk wth???

[blackbirdpie url=”!/jennypops_tdot/status/145181014786981888″]

Try drinking some Molson 67 for that burning feeling.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/All_Habs/status/145181613888770048″]

Markov, who’s that?

[blackbirdpie url=”!/Anthony_LB/status/145181427984642048″]

If only you taking it, didn’t mean I had to as well…

[blackbirdpie url=”!/mirtle/status/145183054472814592″]

Can he kick field goals and if so, are they worth three points?

[blackbirdpie url=”!/HabsWatch/status/145192982696574976″]

I share that opinion.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/NHLbyMatty/status/145190493440049153″]

Thinking not included.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/kristinaashqar/status/145343350147526657″]

That’s not funny.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/ckraks/status/145192690005442561″]

That’s never a good sign.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/wyshynski/status/145197346802778113″]

And will be stuck with what he used to be for a very long time…

[blackbirdpie url=”!/Steve_Dangle/status/145195208949248000″]

I sure as hell wouldn’t want to know what school Pierre Gauthier went to…

[blackbirdpie url=”!/TheSterlo/status/145314845913382912″]

Hey, no worries buddy, you can always count on Montreal to accept an unacceptable contract and help out a fellow opponent.

[blackbirdpie url=”!/edflynn/status/145321298984304640″]


[blackbirdpie url=”!/___Danno/status/145693212168822784″]

Well what do you know… let’s talk again in 2014.

Follow me on Twitter: @stevofarnham


  1. I think the comparison between the role the Hurricanes signed Kaberle to, and what he was traded to Montreal for is a case of apples and oranges.

    With Carolina, he was supposed to be a top 4 defenseman.

    In Montreal, his worth is for bottom 4 defense (with Emelin it seems, though Emelin is better suited to the left) and PP minutes – at least until Markov is back (when is that again? Sometime in 2013?)

    Watching the game against New Jersey, you saw Kaberle’s impact on the PP alone – less long bombs from the point with no effect, more puck movement – leading to a PP that looked like it would score (and did!).

    • I sincerely do believe he makes the Habs better in the short-term, but I also feel this contract hurts the team in the long-term. Good player (not great), bad contract.

  2. Good story Stevo. I prefer the wait and see approach. I’ll admit that as soon as the news came out, I was shocked. But the guy had 47 points last year, so he’s not far removed from greatness. There has always been a battle to know whom of Kabs and Marky was the better player. He could very well find his groove here, as he’s a good puck-moving defenseman and the Habs have tons of speed. I’m on the fence on that one.

    • My issue is not the player, but the contract. I think he can help the Canadiens in the short-term, but I feel that by helping them in the short term, it’s simply preventing the team from going into “rebuild” mode which is where I feel they should be heading.

  3. Re Kaberle trade: What? he’s been through 4 teams in 10 months? 4 teams already? Tabernooche! even Kim Kardashian isn’t that “busy”,eh? But then,she’s only got the NBA, NFL, MLB, MLS leagues to choose from! Hmmm……ever wonder why she does NOT “indulge” with the NHL guys? Hmmm…..maybe she’s still upset that the NHL Rules Committee named a game misconduct pen. after her? yeah, “3rd. man in”!!!!

    PS: I will have a Habs Laugh Lines blog re “Kabbie” posted by tonite (Mon. Dec. 12)

    • Frenchie! Actually, not to disagree with you, but what I heard is the NHL banned her for constantly wanting to get hit from behind.

      By the way, great interview with Baldini, really enjoyed it!

      Look forward to your next piece!

  4. I can’t believe my tweet about Rutherford in the red silk bathrobe didn’t make the cut.

    I agree with you here. I have no problem with Kaberle and let’s see what he can bring. But I’m also having a déjà vu feeling.. “Let’s hope Gomez finds his groove and plays like he did in New Jersey..” Sound familiar ?

    That worked out great. Cough.

    Again, Habs get stuck with a bad, bad, contract. That’s my problem with the move too. But at this point, I don’t think Gauthier even cares. This will be the next GM’s problem…

    Great post.

    • good trade, kind of disagree and agree with you Steve about same old and refusing to take a bad year for long term good. And i see your point Chantal, but not a crazy contract and i am still very very happy to be rid of ol Spacek (hope he does well and all that but has been a weak spot on defense for too long).
      We saw in 1st game the good nd bad of Kaberle, good offensively and soft in own end, but not MAB bad and bout same as Spacek.
      If trade helps offense than is a bonus and good trade, defense is doing fine and Kaberle as 4th-6th d-man shouldnt hurt too bad.

      • Thanks Don, I think he will help overall. But him helping, doesn’t help, if that makes any sense at all. I just find it stalls what needs to be done with this team, which is a rebuild.

        • Stevo, I don’t know why it affects the future, even rebuilding teams have or need veterans. This year Kaberly fills a need, next year is next year, Kaberle @4.25M in a lot better than Komisarek @ 4.5M. Like Gauthier said there are several ways to make room on the salary cap. And Subban is overplayed.

          Kaberle was the Bruins D with the most points, and their GM said that without Kaberle they would not have won the cup, and he also tried to resign him, but not for 3 years. Kaberle is a good fit and also have 6 points in his 3 last games. He will help Subban in a way that now other teams will have to keep a closer eye on Kabs, therefore less on Subban, which is in his sophomor year and player too many minutes, let’s face it, second year and 30 minutes a game is not helping Subban, especialy his offensive game.

          The more I look at it, the more I see this trade as a steal. Time will tell.

  5. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to realize that the Caandiens won this trade and that it makes the team more dangerous, but I guess it HabLand it does.

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