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Caputi and some Bruin post-game thoughts; more deadline hangover

Coming later today: a look back at the Swedish defenseman who actually preceded Salming and Hammarstrom—and helped launch the Swedish hockey invasion.
More deadline talk:


I’m guessing Tomas Kaberle has ensured his departure from Toronto. Leaf officials would dismiss the notion, of course, but Kaberle’s apparent change of heart came too little and too late to help Toronto at the deadline, and actually put them in an awkward public relations spot.

• The veteran defenseman was well within his contractual rights, of course. However, by waiting until the last second to make himself available, and to only a select list of three teams, he put himself in the Dany Heatley-type situation. The Leafs had no time, and few options.

• I suppose if one of those three teams really wanted Kaberle, they would have stepped up to the plate, but I don’t imagine Burke liked the scenario that played out. That being the case, I think Kaberle is gone as soon as the next “window” to deal him opens up.

• Losing Kaberle will weaken the backline, though, as I’ve posted previously, he leaves me wanting as a defender. But you have to like his passing and ability to headman the puck. That will be difficult to replace.

• If they do deal him, what kind of players, prospect or draft choices will they get? A number one pick? A bonafide young player? A couple of “prospects”. It’s something to talk about between now and June.

• We’re all hoping young Caputi is the real deal. I’m in no way making a comparison, but I know how much we always want to hope that “prospects” will become impact players. We hoped that Suglobov would a few years ago, and that never materialized. Leaf fans trust this management group to make good choices, so we’ll see.

Bruins post-game

• Giguerre is struggling at times, but as I’ve written, these games mean nothing. What will be important is how Giguerre plays next October and beyond.

• Goalies are funny. When they are in their ‘zone’, as Giguerre was in the ’04 playoffs, they are almost impossible to beat—if they can see the puck. Tim Thomas, with his indescribable style, was the best goalie in the NHL last year. This season, not so much. But he shut down Kessel and Kulemin on clear breakaways last night, perhaps an omen of things to come. The Bruins will likely need him on track if they hope to make any impression in the playoffs.

• Tim Thomas is a guy who worked hard for a long time to get a real shot in the NHL. He appreciates where he is and you like to see individuals like Thomas do well.

• Kessel has to break through against the Bruins at some point. I’ve got to believe he will be much more relaxed playing against the Bruins next season. He had some jump last night—and some opportunities, but Thomas was very good.

• Caputi certainly earned his keep in his first Leaf game with a hard play to win a puck for Kulemin, who set up Bozak’s 2-2 goal. He showed he could move a bit on his third-period breakaway. As I said yesterday, I’ll withdraw my comments about the Leafs having an “off” deadline day if, over time, Caputi proves his value.

• The commentators on the Leaf game last night suggested Savard misses Kessel more than Kessel misses Savard. It seems pretty obvious they both miss each other—a lot.

• Phaneuf is known in part for his big shot from the point, but last night he played hard in his own zone—which we expect—and jumped up to create some offensive opportunities. He busted past the defense one time and looked like Rocket Richard on the rush, until he got to the crease and couldn’t close the deal.

• Lundmark had a strong game. The key will be if he can maintain that work ethic long-term.

It was a better effort, but that was to be expected after what happened on Tuesday night at the ACC. I’m way more interested in what the team will look like in October than how they finish the season.

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