McCabe deal still in limbo

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:12 AM ET

Nearly a week has gone by since the Maple Leafs and defenceman Bryan McCabe apparently agreed on a five-year contract, but no official announcement has been made by the club.

Why not? Usually, when a story of this magnitude breaks, there's confirmation in the following 24 hours.

There are a couple of points of speculation relating to the delay of the announcement. One is the contract is being held up at the board level at Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment Ltd., with members trying to decide whether giving McCabe a five-year pact with a no-movement clause is a good idea. MLSEL president Richard Peddie, however, said yesterday, "There are no board issues at all with the contract."

The other possible reason for the delay could involve McCabe's wife, Roberta, who might not be comfortable in committing to another five years in Toronto. The couple has a daughter, Stevie, who was born last September, and a home in Long Island, N.Y., where Roberta's family lives. The thinking is Roberta McCabe would like to be closer to her New York ties.

One source said the club was set to announce the deal, with McCabe, at a news conference, last Thursday.

The deal calls for McCabe, who turns 31 in two days, to be paid approximately $28.75 million US. He is coming off his best season when he was third among defencemen with 68 points (19 goals and 49 assists) in 73 games. Previously, McCabe's top campaign was 2003-04, when he had 16 goals and 37 assists.

Neither McCabe nor his agent, Jeff Solomon, returned messages yesterday. Leafs general manager John Ferguson could not be reached for comment.


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