Red and Black Hockey
by David Lee on 12/30/08 at 12:25 AM ET
On Monday, the Hurricanes announced that they have placed defenseman Frantisek Kaberle on waivers. Meanwhile, defensemen Joni Pitkänen and Dennis Seidenberg plus forward Wade Brookbank have the flu, or flu-like symptoms.
Although Kaberle scored the Cup-winning goal in 2006 and will always have a place in Caniacs’ hearts and Hurricanes history books, his slow-footed, sloppy passing, no-hitting, no English-speaking style of play no longer fits into Carolina’s system. More to the point, his $2.2M salary is no longer justifiable. He’s still under contract for one more season, and it’s highly unlikely that any team aside from the Lightning would be interested in picking up his salary. In the likely event that he clears waivers, it sounds like they’ll send him to Albany rather than release him outright. Jim Rutherford:
“We decided to move a contract and to give him a chance with someone else. If he clears waivers, he’ll still be a part of our team.”
Frankly (no pun intended), I’m surprised that it took this long to make this move. I expected Kaberle to be traded to Los Angeles over the summer. Then again, the Hurricanes have always been fiercely loyal to their own, to the point (Josef Vasicek) of absurdity. I don’t have ill feelings about Kaberle, but he’s overstayed his usefulness. Honestly, he was never any good after having the shoulder surgery in the summer of 2006. I don’t know if there was/is a psychological issue, but he’s just miles away from where he was before the Cup.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that this is business. Frankie is a swell guy, but he’s not worth $2.2M. Not even on a good day.
The dreaded flu bug is making another visit to Carolina’s locker room. German blueliner Dennis Seidenberg sat out Sunday’s game against the Bruins with the flu, and now he has been joined by defenseman Joni Pitkänen and winger/tough guy Wade Brookbank. Last season, Carolina was hit very hard by the flu bug. At one point, nine different players were simultaneously fighting the flu while THIRTEEN players in Albany were also fighting it. To make matters worse, before the first outbreak subsided, a second one erupted, making a nasty trip through the locker room, hitting nearly every player.
If there is any silver lining, it is that the Hurricanes don’t have to play until the traditional New Year’s Eve home game, which is against the Thrashers this year. This will give the flu-ridden guys a few days to rest up, hydrate, and hopefully get back on the ice.
The other good news is that Carolina is exiting a brutal scheduling stretch during which they were playing Boston, Montréal or Philly every night. In January, they’ll have the opportunity to play less powerful teams like St. Louis, Tampa and Toronto on a nightly basis.
January should be a good month for the Canes.
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About Red and Black Hockey
David Lee is a restaurant manager with an unused degree in political science. He can be found at Carolina Hurricanes games, Scrabble tournaments and indie-rock shows. Sometimes, all in the same day.