NHL News and Rumor Roundup – August 12, 2009

Kaberle likely safe for now

Flames not hot on Theo

Desperately seeking Mr. Puck-Mover D-manKaberle likely safe for now


Tomas Kaberle still hesitates when answering his phone in the Czech Republic.

But the wait and worry ends Saturday when the window on the defenceman’s no-trade contract closes, with him still expected to be a Maple Leaf.

Kaberle was relieved to hear general manager Brian Burke predict again yesterday that he’ll be in the fold when training camp opens in a month.

“I’m happy to be staying a Leaf, though there are still a few days to go,” a cautious Kaberle said yesterday in a phone interview from his hometown of Kladno.

“Everyone knew what Brian said, that if he got a good deal there would be movement with me. But I’m getting ready to go to Toronto now, working out the past few weeks with (compatriot and Canadiens forward) Tomas Plekanec and ready to fly out in a few weeks and see the guys.”

From dangling Kaberle in trade talks since the end of the regular season — a deal for Boston’s Phil Kessel was discussed — Burke moved to strengthen the Toronto blueline from a toughness standpoint.

He believes Kaberle can be more effective here with newcomers Mike Komisarek, Francois Beauchemin and Garnet Exelby riding shotgun.

“Exactly,” Kaberle said. “We’re a little sounder at the back end now, which we needed (as defencemen) and to protect our goalie.

“I guess we were (pushed around) at times last year. Now, it’s up to us. Brian has done his work, we have to do our part.”


Flames not hot on Theo


Darryl Sutter believes Theo Fleury will get a tryout if cleared by the NHL.

However, the odds of it coming courtesy of the Calgary Flames are longer than Fleury’s comeback attempt.

“You and I could get a tryout — as long as we pay for our hotel room,” deadpanned the Flames GM yesterday, suggesting a no-strings attached camp invite means little.

That said, while trying his best to remain non-judgmental, Sutter isn’t optimistic the ex-Flames star will be capable of fitting into a league that has changed dramatically since Fleury’s last season in 2003.

“You pull for him because you think a lot of him, but six years is awhile,” said Sutter, revealing Fleury approached him during the playoffs to inform him of his intent to return to the game.

“The big thing is the calibre of training is significantly different these days. It’s one thing to lose weight, but we’ve got kids setting records with their fitness test results, let alone what phenomenal athletes like Iggy (Jarome Iginla) and Reggie (Robyn Regehr) are capable of. I think it would be very difficult for an older guy to get to those levels.”


Desperately seeking Mr. Puck-Mover D-man

Canucks: Bieksa, Salo, Edler good not great; offensive blueliner needed to win Cup

By Mike Halford and Jason Brough, The Province

When we started watching hockey almost 30 years ago, the New York Islanders were just finishing their run of four straight Stanley Cups. The Isles had this great defenceman named Denis Potvin. He scored 101 points one season.

Then it was time for the Edmonton Oilers to take over. The Oilers had this great defenceman named Paul Coffey. He scored 138 points one season.

Then Montreal won in 1986. That same season, a Habs defenceman named Larry Robinson scored 82 points. He was pretty great, too. Won a few Cups in the ’70s, if we’re not mistaken.

Calgary won in 1989 thanks in large part to a great Flames defenceman named Al MacInnis. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the playoffs after scoring 31 points in 22 postseason games. He’s also in the Hall of Fame now. So are the other three guys we’ve mentioned.

Pittsburgh won in 1990 and 1991. The Pens had Coffey for one of them and another great offensive defenceman by the name of Larry Murphy for both. Murphy would go on to win a couple of more Cups with Detroit. He’s in the hall, too.

Brian Leetch. Remember him? Won the Conn Smythe in 1994. Great offensive defenceman. HOF inductee, class of 2009.