Friday, April 2, 2010
Born on this date in 1978, defenseman Tomas Kaberle first played pro hockey for Kladno in the Czech Republic from 1994-95 to 1997-98. At the start of 1997-98, he went to training camp with the Toronto Maple Leafs, who drafted him 204th overall in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft, and played a pair of games with the St. John's Maple Leafs of the AHL, the only games he has ever played in the minors. He would return to the Czech Republic to play the full season with Kladno that season, as well as representing the Czech Republic at the 1998 World Junior Championships.
The following season Kaberle made his NHL debut with Toronto, appearing in 57 games which included his first NHL goal as he got used to the North American game, extended length of the schedule and cultural changes. Now acclimated to North America, the next season his playing time would increase, as he was called on to take on more playing time due to the loss of Bryan Berard with an eye injury. Playing all 82 games, Kaberle reached the 40 point mark with 7 goals and 33 assists.
New established as an NHL regular and again playing in all 82 games, Kaberle surpassed his point total from the previous season with 45 points in 2000-01. He began the following season back with Kladno while waiting for a new contract with Toronto, which arrived after nine games in the Czech Republic. He returned to the NHL and scored ten goals for the first time on his way to 39 points in his abbreviated season and added another 10 points in 20 playoff games, as Toronto made it to the conference finals that season. Prior to the NHL playoffs, Kaberle would once again represent the Czech Republic, this time in the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
In 2002-03, Kaberle set a new career high with 47 points, including a new personal best 11 goals. After the next NHL season, Kaberle played for the Czech Republic at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and then spent the lockout season of 2004-05 once more back with Kladno, scoring 39 points in 49 games and finished his season by capturing a gold medal in his first appearance at the World Championships for the Czech Republic.
His return to the NHL in 2005-06 saw him shatter his personal best scoring mark with 9 goals and a career high 58 assists for 67 points as well as winning a bronze medal in February at the 2006 Olympics in Torino, Italy and a silver medal at the World Championships following the conclusion of the NHL season. He followed that up with a strong 2006-07 season with 58 points.
His next NHL season he again topped 50 points for the third time with 53 and another appearance at the World Championships, his third. Kaberle's 2008-09 season saw injuries limit him to just 57 games, but has rebounded in 2009-10 with a full season as well as his third Olympic games in Vancouver.
Today's featured jersey is a 1999-00 Toronto Maple Leafs Tomas Kaberle jersey. This jersey features both the NHL 2000 patch worn by all players that season, but also the 2000 NHL All-Star Game patch.
Today's video section kicks off with a nice highlight reel of Kaberle, highlighting his offensive skills.
Here is Tomas Kaberle winning the Accuracy Shooting Competition at the 2008 NHL All-Star Game SuperSkills Competition.
What he heck?