Since people liked my last article and my comparison of Justin Pogge to a Christmas ham, I've decided to start the series called "Setting Up the Dinner Table."
In this series, I will talk about an individual player and compare him to a type of food. If you have any suggestions or requests, leave me a message on my bulletin board and I'll see what I can do.
I haven't really thought of who to do this week, I was thinking of comparing Ian White to a tickle-me-elmo doll, but then I remembered it had to be a type of food.
This week, I will compare Tomas Kaberle to an empanada.
What is an empanada? It's a type of stuffed pastry. It's really similar to a pizza pop, but the filling is more "traditional," I guess you could say. Usually ground beef with some egg and other things. You can find more info here
I'll start off with a little story.
When I first moved to Chile, I tasted an empanada on the first day. I thought to myself "hey, this is pretty good." For the next couple of months I ended up eating one everyday. Empanadas were like girls to me, there were so many different types and all of them were great, well, except those greasy ones you bought on the streets.
After a while of empanadas, I just got sick and tired of them. Right now, I can't even eat an empanada, I just think "yuck" when I think of one. I don't know how this came to be, maybe this is what happens when you eat too many. Hopefully it doesn't work the same way with girls.
Anyways, time to get to the point of the article. I think we've all admired Kaberle throughout the years. He was a consistent D-man who could always get the job done. You can trust him on the power play, penalty kill, and even when the team is at even strength. Last season during a game against Ottawa, you could even trust him in net!
Hmmm...maybe Pogge isn't the answer to our problems.
There's about one minute to go in the game, your team's up 5-0. You don't really have to try, but look at Kaberle. He goes on net, and doesn't let the puck in.
In game six of the 2002 conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes, Pat Quinn pulled Curtis Joseph, and put up his best players up. You can bet Kaberle was there. The series was 3-2 for Carolina. There was less than a minute to go, and the Hurricanes had a 1-0 lead. Mats Sundin ended up scoring the goal, but as you can see, we had so much faith in Kaberle to save us at times.
Back to the empanada. I really think I can relate Kaberle to an empanada.
When you take the first bite out of an empanada, you probably just end up with a mouthful of crust, and not much flavour. Similar to Kaberle, when you see him play, you don't really see him deke the whole team and score a goal, or set up a huge play to give the team the lead. What you do see him do however, are the little things, like getting passes through, creating opportunities etc.
Lots of people out there merely like players because of their scoring ability, so if you take your first "bite" out of Kaberle, you won't really like it. Just like an empanada. it's like biting bread, it's plain. Well, an empanada's "crust" is kinda crunchy, but let's not get into that.
Anyway, so you've taken a bite out of the empanada, or maybe a couple depending on how big your mouth is, and now you see can see the good stuff inside. It really depends on what type of empanada you're eating, some have ground beef, some have melted cheese and meat (pretty much a pizza pop).
I'd say Tomas Kaberle's stuffing is ground beef with bacon. Ground beef is okay. Who wouldn't mind eating it? Well, vegetarians. The bacon just adds a kick to it. Who doesn't love bacon? Well, vegetarians and Jews.
I think by the time we finish the empanada, we end up with a pretty good taste in our mouths. Just like Kaberle at the end of the season, he played well, has assisted the leafs throughout the season, and left us all with a smile.
This season however seemed a little different. We've taken a bite past the crust of the empanada, and now we realize that it isn't that much better inside the empanada. The ground beef is cold, and not very tasty.
Tomas Kaberle currently has only two goals, but makes up for it with his 23 assists. Plus he's third in the league in assists by a defenseman. Who cares about stats, it's the little things that matter, right? Wrong.
Like I said before, Kaberle is "special in his own little way." He might not score goals or set up plays for assists, but he sure can help the team. That's been changing lately.
I'm not sure if anyone's noticed this as well, but Tomas Kaberle seems to be watching the opposing play rather than doing something about it. Tomas Kaberle turns 31 on March 2 (It's actually one day off mine).
Could age finally be catching up with him? I wouldn't say so. 31 isn't really old. As a matter of fact, he should be reaching the peak of his career right now, but why isn't he? Did his long time girlfriend dump him? Did the team turn against him when he made those comments in the pre-season?
It's very similar when you think about the empanada. If it doesn't have the taste you expect it to have, you think to yourself "What went wrong? Was the ground beef too dry? Did it cook for too long?"
Well, that's for you to decide.
My conclusion is...Tomas Kaberle is like an empanada!