Private Kaberle Report to "The Leper Colony"
Around this time in 2006, the buzz around the league was that the Hurricanes clubhouse was the place to be. Roddy and Lavvy's boys were a band of brothers. They had each other's back and held each other accountable. When JR brought in both Doug Weight and Mark Recchi, they both said as much. Adam Gold's interview with JR yesterday, the video on Canes Vision right now and now Luke's piece on Lord Stanley's Blog today lead me to believe that the first move in the mid-season makeover of this club will be another firing. Firing Trevor Letowski or Craig Adams won't change much. I for one think Trevor's been one of the few to play with real passion on a consistent basis.
In both interviews, JR points to poor work ethic over three full periods, lingering post-Cup complacency and bad clubhouse mojo as principle reasons for concern. That's not a problem trading for a puck-moving defenseman can solve. Face it folks, John-Michael Liles is not going to be the savior of this season. When JR says that even when the club wins something doesn't feel right, he's talking about a bad mojo that only strong leadership can solve. In baseball, the grim reaper always takes out the manager first. In the Gold interview, he made a point of indicating that nobody was safe from the reaper, except maybe Eric Staal - who if we are to believe one prognosticator, will soon be moved to Edmonton - is bulletproof.
The Canes have no games this Saturday and Sunday. I think Coach Lavvy needs to curl up in the Lazy Boy this weekend with a good movie. I suggest Twelve O'Clock High starring Gregory Peck. Playing the role of General Frank Savage, Peck is tasked with turning around a failing B-17 bomber wing in WWII. Starting with the gate guard at the base, Savage immediately starts kicking ass and taking names. From day one, he aggressively works to change the culture of the unit. He pushes the concept of "maximum effort," refusing to settle for any effort today that isn't demonstrably better than the one of yesterday. One of the key things he does is put all his underachievers and malcontents on a bird he designates, The Leper Colony. Those sent down to the crew The Leper Colony have to work their way out.
So if JR shows Adams and/or Letowski the door, I say Lavvy should make the fourth line the Cane's version of the Leper Colony and put Kaberle, or whomever is the top blueline under-achiever at that time, up front and let them only play as a forward on the fourth line until they earn their way back to the regular defensive rotation.
UPDATE: Adams to the Blackhawks for an underachiever Chicago will need to unload in the future.