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One morning, as Tomas Kaberle awoke from anxious dreams, he discovered that in his bed he had been changed into monstrous trade bait. He lay on his tightened back and saw, as he lifted his rosy-cheeked face, that the fans who had once supported him had now turned on him.
“What’s happened to me?” he thought. It was no bad dream. His small room hung between the four walls. Above a table was a picture cut out of a magazine set into a nice, gilt frame. It was a picture of a tall, bald, Swedish man who was really good at poker.
Tomas turned his head and looked out of his window. The humid weather, with piercing sunrays, had made him quite melancholy. “Why don’t I keep sleeping for a little while longer and forget all this foolishness,” he thought. But this was entirely impractical, for his right side had never been right since getting hit by Cam Janssen. No matter how hard he threw himself onto his right side, he always got dizzy and scared, causing him to roll onto his back.
“O God” he thought, “What a demanding job it is to be a player of the Toronto Maple Leafs! Day in and day out, on the ice, on the road! The stresses of critics are so much more than what’s happening on the ice, and, in addition to that, I still have to cope with the problems of travelling, the worries about jet lag, bad food, Colton Orr snoring. To hell with it all!” He felt a slight itching in the middle of his eyebrow.
He slid back into his earlier position. “This getting up early in the off-season", he thought, “is real stupid. A man needs his rest after playing all of those games. Other hockey players live like bloggers in their mom’s basements. I remember I would leave the ice after a morning skate, only to find that Vesa Toskala was just finishing his breakfast. If I did that, I’d be traded to Columbus right on the spot! But that’s ok, for I am an elite, puck-moving defenseman, whereas Vesa Toskala is a piece of shit. Still, maybe a change of scenery would be a good thing for me. Sure, playing one’s whole career for the team that drafted him would be nice, but if it wasn’t for Tim Horton’s, I would have demanded a trade years ago. In any case, I have to get up. I have a meeting with Ron Wilson about the team’s defensive core at nine.”
He looked over at the alarm on the nightstand next to him. Good God, it was almost noon! Had he slept through the alarm? It could not be possible, since at the moment the alarm was sounding loud enough to vibrate his ears. Tomas thought about how he could explain his lateness to Ron Wilson, since Coach Wilson was not one to screw around when it came to meeting times. Perhaps Tomas could say that he was feeling ill that morning. No, that would not do, since in his eleven years as a hockey player with the Leafs, he had only missed eighty-two games. Coach Wilson would surely call him soft and sic Gary Roberts on him, which would not be wrong. Aside from a touch of drowsiness form oversleeping, Tomas felt fine.