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Canes GM on Tomas Kaberle: “He better pick up his game”

Cam Ward, Tim Connolly

Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward (30) snares the puck with Hurricanes’ Tomas Kaberle (51), of Czech Republic, and Toronto Maple Leafs’ Tim Connolly nearby during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Raleigh, N.C., Sunday, Nov. 20, 2011. The Hurricanes won 3-2. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker)


There are plenty of rock-bottom moments in professional sports, but getting bashed by your own general manger ranks high on the list. Things were bad enough for Tomas Kaberle, but Carolina Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford went on XM Radio to blast the damagingly bad free agent pickup.

Rutherford’s message was simple and harsh: “Tomas Kaberle better pick up his game or he won’t be in Carolina long.”

That’s a saucy little quote, but it provokes plenty of thoughts that aren’t very positive for the man pointing the finger.

  • How exactly is this going to improve Kaberle’s plummeting trade value? The Hurricanes aren’t a team with the kind of budget that can Wade Redden a player’s salary in the minors, after all.

  • Building off the last point, who’s going to want him? I doubt many teams are going to want to fork over $4.25 million for three years of Kaberle’s passivity.

  • Here’s a thought: maybe Rutherford should “pick up his game.” After all, he was the guy who a) re-hired Paul Maurice only to fire him and b) gave Kaberle that baffling contract in the first place. This is the hockey equivalent to a soccer mom snapping after she did a poor job of picking up groceries.

Honestly, this almost smells a little bit like the way the Edmonton Oilers mismanaged the Sheldon Souray situation. There’s a difference between “tough love” and “shooting yourself in the foot” and Rutherford is angling toward the latter.

In the grand scheme of things, both Rutherford and Kaberle need a wake-up call.