Deal OK with Kaberle

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

To those who claim he might be disgruntled at being paid less than fellow Maple Leafs defenceman Bryan McCabe, Tomas Kaberle has a message.

He is not bitter.

Nor jealous.

"If he gets more or less than me, who cares?" Kaberle said last night from his home in the Czech Republic. "I'm just thrilled he will be back with us for a long time.

"If I wanted more money, I could have waited until the summer to sign. Sometimes it's not about how much you can get, it's about if you are happy. And I wanted to play here.That's what makes me happy. That's why I signed.

"Obviously, Bryan is happy to be back here too."

Opting not to test the free- agent waters, Kaberle in February signed a five-year pact worth $4.25 million US per season.

He will be paid at least $1 million per season less than McCabe under terms of the deal the latter has agreed to in principle with the Leafs.

News of McCabe's contract had some critics suggesting Kaberle would be put off because of the financial gap between the two deals.

There were inferences that Kaberle might feel like he is no better than the team's No. 2 defenceman because he will get less than McCabe.

But that was far from the case when Kaberle was told of McCabe's pending deal by The Toronto Sun last night.

In fact, Kaberle was thrilled to learn that his long-time defence partner will be in blue and white for another five years.

"Back at the time I signed I said I wanted to see him back,"Kaberle said. "It was tough not seeing him sign during the season, so this is great news.

"I still feel the Leafs are one of the best organizations in the league and (Bryan's) signing hopefully shows we are going in the right direction."

Kaberle has been going through withdrawal at not being in the NHL playoffs for the first time in his career. In order to satisfy his post-season appetite, he has been watching his brother, Frantisek, attempt to win a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes.

"Game 7 against Buffalo will be shown here live at 1:30 in the morning and I'll be (glued) to the TV," Tomas said.

"It is difficult, though, because it makes me think of how we fell short this year. I think about that every day."


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