The Internets are abuzz today with talk of the Leafs dismal performance against the Sharks and Coyotes, but also, more dramatically, Wilson's benching of Kaberle for the whole first period last night.
Our good buddy Eyebleaf is pissed off by the move, and even went so far as to say that he's "off" Wilson because of it. While our not-so-good buddy Cox took it so far as to say that "...the gauntlet has been laid down. And Kaberle, it's clear, is in his final weeks as a Maple Leaf."
Woah, easy on the brakes, Champ!
Thankfully, though, DGB brings some much needed levelheadedness to this issue by telling us all to calm down, and assuring us that Kaberle's trade value isn't necessarily in a freefall because of recent events.
I want to take that line of thinking even further though, and contend that its premature to say that just because Kaberle got stapled to the bench last night automatically means he's gone. As has been mentioned, Wilson really only has a few tools at his disposal to deal with players. He either skates them at practice, calls them out in the media, benches them during a game or sends them to the press box. That's really about it, and Wilson has used 3/4 of those against Kabs - with the 4th still at his disposal. I couldn't agree more that he's not playing well right now, that he probably could use a trip to the press box, and of course that he screwed the team over by refusing to be traded to Philly last year. However, all of that doesn't mean a) he's going to waive his NTC now and/or b) that Burke is even going to ask him to waive it, so that he can package him up and ship him out ASAP. Remember, Wilson and Patrick Marleau didn't get along swimmingly in SJ, yet Marleau is still employed in that town... and Wilson isn't. Kaberle is merely the latest vet to be on the receiving end of Wilson's tough-as-nails approach. And I guarantee he won't be the last.
Kabs is in a funk, but he's still a highly talented player with a skillset that is valuable to this club... and many others. Ask yourself: would you rather see Finger running the PP? If the goal is to tank this season and make a run at a top pick - then maybe he's on his way out. Or, of course, if the goal is to move him for a younger, up-and-comer (or picks), then he's on his way out. But I don't think this team will - or should - trade him just for the sake of it. Or that Kabs is any closer to letting them trade him.