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Would benching Tomas Kaberle be the right move for Boston to make?

May 23, 2011, 11:35 AM EDT

Tomas Kaberle Getty Images

One of the big figures in the playoffs this year is defenseman Tomas Kaberle. After being dealt from Toronto to Boston in mid-February, Kaberle was hailed as being the answer to the Bruins puck-carrying worries as well as an elixir for a power play that was inconsistent at best during the regular season. In short, Kaberle was meant to be the missing piece for a Bruins team poised to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Things haven’t quite gone according to plan for both the Bruins and for Kaberle. Since joining the Bruins, Boston’s power play has been clicking along at a 9% success rate in the regular season and playoffs (11-118) and in the playoffs, the Bruins have found ways to win in spite of a terrible power play (4-52 in the playoffs).

However, after Game 4′s effort from Kaberle that saw him get outworked and out-muscled by Sean Bergenheim leading to the game’s tying goal in the second period in what turned out to be a toothless affair for Boston in a 5-3 loss.

CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty has a gutsy solution for the Bruins to solve what ails both the team and Kaberle. He says it’s time for coach Claude Julien to bench Kaberle in favor of either Steve Kampfer or Shane Hnidy to shake things up for the Bruins and get them back to playing “Bruins hockey.”

No matter what Julien says publicly about Kaberle and the team’s belief in him, it’s clear the coaching staff has lost confidence in the player as he’s relegated to a bottom pairing defenseman. No amount of public spin and positive feedback can cover up the stench left on the ice after Kaberle’s shift has concluded and another round of mistakes have to be cleaned up by his teammates.

He hasn’t surpassed 20 minutes of ice time since the opening playoff series against the Montreal Canadiens, and his pairing with Adam McQuaid was a flammable liability in Saturday’s loss to the Lightning.

It’d make for quite the gutsy move to do that and given that he’s seen his minutes reduced to playing just over 12 minutes and 11 minutes in the last two games respectively as a third-pair defenseman, the case to be made for benching Kaberle is strong. Even though coach Julien won’t be sitting him out, is it the right move to try and spur the Bruins to victory? Let us know in the comments and vote in our poll to let us know your thoughts.

  1. govtminion - May 23, 2011 at 1:28 PM

    As painful as it would be to bench a guy you’ve been trying to get in a trade for years, and gave up a first-rounder for… at this point, who WOULDN’T bench Kaberle? The guy has been horrible- he’s blown coverage repeatedly, giving up ugly chances (and goals, natch) while looking almost inept in the process. He’s been a near non-factor on the power play, the area he’s supposed to be an expert on. At this point I’d feel better with Kampfer playing- hell, I’d feel better with MY old fat ass putting on pads and giving it a try. I couldn’t do WORSE, could I?

    (Don’t answer that, PHT Nation.)

  2. sinnach - May 23, 2011 at 2:03 PM

    As horrible and disappointing as Kaberle has been, benching him to put in either Kampfer or Hnidy is not likely to help. At all. One is a rookie defenseman just getting over a leg injury that hasn’t played a game in months. The other is a plodding veteran who spends around 5 minutes on the ice per game when he does get the go-ahead to play.

    Kaberle is already on the bottom defensive pairing. Just take him completely off the power-play and reduce his minutes – Kampfer or Hnidy would only see single digit minutes if they got the call. Doing otherwise is a huge gamble at a time when Boston is still in a decent position. The series is tied, not down 3-1 or 3-2.

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