Saturday, March 3, 2007

Janssen Rocks Kaberle... Sends him to Hospital

Last night in New Jersey, rugged winger Cam Janssen leveled the Leafs top defenseman, Tomas Kaberle, with an open ice hit, sending him to the hospital. Playing the puck in his own zone, Kaberle had just finished making a pass up ice with Janssen hit him at full speed, his shouldering connecting to Kaberle's head. Kaberle hit the ice and spun into the boards and hit his head again. After laying motionless for a few minutes, Kaberle began to move, but still required a stretcher to take him from the ice. Full video of the incident is here coutesy of Youtube.

There was no penalty on the play.

The hit was late. The Chris Neil hit on Chris Drury comes to mind. But this was a bit later than that. Kaberle, like Drury, had his head down and he got caught off guard. Look for Colin Campbell to step in on this one for a suspension of some sort.

The incident had another similarity to the Sens/Sabres melee that occured last week. Leaf head coach Paul Maurice did not dress their tough guy Wade Belak just as Brian Murray did not have Brian McGratton in the lineup when Neil smoked Drury. The similarities abruptly end there.

While attention today will be on no penalty being called, I cannot help but point out that not one single Maple Leaf responded to their fallen teammate. All of the Leafs on the ice skated right passed Janssen without batting an eyelash. Even Travis Green, who was very near to Janssen and will fight on occasion, did not have an ill word for the Devil's tough guy. Simply put, the Leafs players should be embarrassed for not defending their top defenseman. I can only imagine what Kaberle will think when he sees the video of the hit and the lack of response from his teammates. The Sabres responded and they have been praised countless times for sticking together. Even Washington Capitals defenseman, Shoane Morrison, has fought and lost twice this year while coming to the aide of a teammate. That, ladies and gentleman, is the type of character guys you want on your team. The Leafs did not have any of those guys on the ice last night when Janssen leveled Kaberle... it is an embarrassment to those players and to the Leaf's team. Don Cherry probably lost his cookies last night somewhere.

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