Stability McCabe's long-term goal

ROB LONGLEY -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:07 AM ET

For Bryan McCabe, family comes first with the quest for a Stanley Cup not far behind.

The good news for Leafs fans is that the defenceman and assistant captain feels Toronto is a perfect place for both pursuits.

"I'm at a point in my career where I'm not getting any younger and I want to stay in one place," McCabe said yesterday at the Air Canada as the Leafs packed up for their early summer vacation.

"I've got a family now. I don't want to be bouncing around getting traded every few years."

In other words, the free agent believes that even though contract negotiations have yet to reach the serious stage, he is confident a deal will get done in the summer.

"It's going to resolve itself," McCabe said. "Honestly, I'm not worried about it. I've got some things to deal with in the next month or so then I'm sure we'll get down to business."

McCabe's career has blossomed in Toronto, especially this season when his booming slap shot made the Leafs power play a force.

CAREER HIGHS

His 19 goals and 68 points were both career highs placing him third in scoring among NHL defencemen. McCabe's six game-winning goals were a team high.

"Obviously the coaching staff here has been great for me," said McCabe, who was acquired by trade in 2000. "They showed a lot of confidence in me and have had a big impact on my career.

"And playing with (Tomas Kaberle) doesn't hurt."

It also doesn't hurt that McCabe believes the Leafs aren't as far from contending as doom and gloomers predict.

"We need some tweaking because it didn't work out this year," McCabe said. "But for the most part ... I think we have a good core group of guys here."

It has been speculated that McCabe is seeking as much as $5 million US per season. Kaberle, his partner on the Leafs blue line, signed a five-year deal worth $4.25 million a year prior to the Olympics.

"I hope so," Kaberle said when asked about the prospect of McCabe remaining a Leaf. "We are used to each other.

"I'm probably going to make a few phone calls from back home this summer to talk about it."


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