Kaberle back in Boston, has his ring

Staff writerOctober 18, 2011 

— Tomas Kaberle said Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli was waiting for him today when the Canes first arrived at TD Garden.

Chiarelli had something to present Kaberle -- his Stanley Cup ring, for being a part of the Bruins' championship run last season.

"It was an exciting moment," Kaberle said. "Really nice (ring). They did a nice job. I'm sure everybody liked it.

"It was a long season but worth it. But it's a new season now. You have to look at it that way. Boston is going to be our enemy tonight."

Kaberle was a fixture and former All-Star defenseman for the Toronto Maple Leafs until traded to the Bruins on Feb. 18 for a first-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional second-round pick in 2012. He played 24 regular-season and 25 playoff games for the Bruins, and had 11 playoff points, all assists.

It appeared Kaberle might re-sign with the Bruins but he accepted the Canes' offer of three years and $12.75 million. While spending a day with the Cup in the Czech Republic was fun, the Cup run cut did back on his off-season conditioning work.

"It was a short summer and obviously you don't get as much rest like the years before," Kaberle said. "But (the Cup) is what you play for. It doesn't really matter. You have to ready for the next season."

Kaberle is minus-5 after five games, but has seemed more comfortable the past few games and has been generally effective on the power play.

"I think Tomas has played like our group," Canes coach Paul Maurice said. "We all felt a little bit of a slow start, but there was still a lot of good and then in the last couple of games. Our power-play numbers aren't incredible but we've scored five and he's a big part of that."

Kaberle, whose last time in the Garden was in the Stanley Cup finals against Vancouver, briefly stood by the Canes bench today as the Bruins went through their morning skate. Zdeno Chara did some chirping at him as he skated past.

Soon, Kaberle was on the ice again, with his new team.

"All the boys have been great to me and it's a great bunch of guys here," Kaberle said. "Young team, fast team. Hopefully we can do something special here as well. The key is to make the playoffs. That's what we're here for."

The Bruins are coming off a 3-2 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Chicago but will have Tuukka Rask, not Tim Thomas, in goal tonight. In Rask's only appearance this season, Oct. 10 against Colorado, he had 35 saves in a 1-0 loss to the Avalanche.

"I think they're feeling good after the win against Chicago and we've got a couple of wins," Maurice said. "We've both played a lot of hockey, so I think the early season kind of jitters and all those things are starting to get worked out on both teams."

The Canes topped the Bruins 3-2 last Wednesday in Raleigh for their first win, and Maurice said he likes playing again so soon "for the rivalry and intensity."

"I'd love to see the home-and-home series as much as possible throughout the league," he said. "I think they're great for your (preparation). I'd like to see more of them."

Maurice, who coached Kaberle in Toronto for two seasons, said he was happy to see the veteran D-man get the ring. Kaberle was under a lot of scrutiny in Toronto and received some criticism in Boston for his play with the Bruins.

"Good for him," Maurice said. "If there is some emotion he's earned it. He should be somewhat overwhelmed by getting a Stanley Cup ring and his part in it."

Maurice also coached Kaberle's brother, Frantisek, when he replaced Peter Laviolette as Canes coach in December 2008. Frantisek won the 2006 Cup with the Canes and has the distinction of scoring the winning goal in Game 7 of the Cup finals against the Edmonton Oilers.

"I've had players who have Stanley Cup rings ... and it does seem to change their focus a little bit in terms of play, in a positive way," Maurice said. "I think they become all about winning.

"It's a team accomplishment but an individual accomplishment that never gets taken away. They come back to the rink and they seem to enjoy the game more."

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