Kaberle deal got more costly
The trade the Bruins initiated with Toronto Feb. 18 is finally on the books.
That day, the Bruins forked over Joe Colborne and their 2011 first-round pick to the Maple Leafs for Tomas Kaberle. One piece remained — a conditional 2012 second-round pick if the Bruins either advanced to the Stanley Cup final this season or re-signed Kaberle.
Last night, the condition kicked in.
It is a hefty bounty for a player that has not delivered the goods the Bruins expected. Then again, if Kaberle is a member of a Cup-winning club next month, Boston’s package could be justified.
In Game 7, Kaberle submitted a clean and efficient performance, which his games haven’t always been. Last night, Kaberle was on the ice for 13:06. Kaberle landed one shot. Because there were no penalties called, Kaberle didn’t see any time on the power play, which is the supposed strength of his game.
But defensively, Kaberle gave the coaching staff everything it asked of him. He stood up to rushes. He was quick to retrieve pucks and get them out of the defensive zone, via chip, tape-to-tape pass, or air-mail flip. When the Tampa gunners had scoring chances, Kaberle filled the shooting lanes — he had two blocked shots.
“Obviously it was always tough, listening to everything on the outside,’’ Kaberle said, referring to the heat he has taken for his so-so play. “I didn’t want to let it bother me. I just tried to stick with the program and with my game. Play simple hockey. We all did it. This is a team effort. Tonight’s special. There were no PKs and no power plays. Little things made the difference.’’
In Game 6, Kaberle was just as good. He was on for 19:46 of ice time, including 7:06 on the power play, manning his usual position at the point. The Bruins had some decent looks, but didn’t get enough pucks on Dwayne Roloson.
“I liked his game. He moved the puck well,’’ said coach Claude Julien. “He was in there. He created some opportunities for us. The only thing you’ve always heard about Tomas is you’d like to see him shoot the puck more. There are times on the power play where if he has that shooting lane, with Zdeno [Chara] in front, you have to shoot. It doesn’t have to be a big shot. It can be a wrist shot. It can be anything.’’
In a macro view, the trade hasn’t gone as expected. Part of the reason the Bruins pulled the trigger well in advance of the Feb. 28 trade deadline, was to give the life-long Maple Leaf an opportunity to adjust to his second team. Kaberle joined the team for its Western Canada road swing to Calgary, Vancouver, and Edmonton.
But Kaberle’s presence on the power play, the primary area the puck-moving defenseman was supposed to bolster, never led to the results the Bruins projected. The Bruins are 5 for 61 (8.2 percent) on the power play in the playoffs. In the 24 regular-season games featuring Kaberle in Black and Gold, the Bruins went 7 for 66 (10.6 percent).
Before acquiring Kaberle, the Bruins were 36 for 199 (18.1 percent) on the power play in the regular season.
Whistles docked At the conclusion of yesterday’s morning skate, Chara practiced tipping pucks in front of one net. It is an exercise that Chara, usually stationed at the point, does not do. It indicated that Chara was most likely to back down low on the power play.
Chara never got there. There wasn’t a single penalty called by referees Dan O’Halloran and Stephen Walkom, which was just fine with Julien.
“We didn’t mind that at all,’’ Julien said. “What I liked about the refereeing tonight was they let the two teams decide the outcome. I think both teams were very disciplined tonight.’’
Not ready for last call Mark Recchi entered last night’s game with the possibility that it would be his final time on the ice as an NHLer. But Recchi has at least one more round in his 43-year-old legs.
He entered the night with a 0-0—0 line in the series and looking as if his age was catching up to him.
But last night, Recchi made the most of his 12:37 of ice time. Late in the second, after he rolled over the boards in place of Rich Peverley, Recchi was in perfect position to take a feed from Brad Marchand and get a clean look on Dwayne Roloson. Roloson denied Recchi twice with right-pad kickouts.
Circle of life The Bruins won 57 percent of the faceoffs last night. The team that won the most faceoffs in each game of this series came out with the win. Last night, David Krejci was dominant on the draw, winning 14 of 17 faceoffs. In the Bruins’ wins in Games 2, 3, and 5, their faceoff success rates were 56, 57, and 58 percent. In their losses in Games 1, 4, and 6, the Bruins posted marks of 39, 40, and 48 percent. In Game 6, Chris Kelly lost nine of 13 draws, including a first-period faceoff to Vincent Lecavalier that led to a Teddy Purcell goal. Fluto Shinzawa can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeFluto