Kubina fights suit

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

On or off the ice, hulking Pavel Kubina doesn't like to be pushed around.

The new Maple Leafs defenceman plans to fight a recent court decision which pinched him in the pocketbook for allegedly slandering an official.

"We are going to appeal," Kubina's agent, Petr Svoboda, said from Europe last night. "Pavel wants to put this behind him."

The incident in question occurred during the lockout of 2004-05 when Kubina was playing for HC Vitkovice of the Czech Extraliga.

With his team having been punted from the post-season, Kubina fired some biting criticism at referee Petra Bolina, reportedly referring to the official as a "corrupt bastard" and allegedly accusing him of taking bribes.

Bolina countered with legal action and this week was successful in suing Kubina for slander.

A court in Ostrava,Czech Republic ruled that Kubina must pay 14,000 euros -- the equivilant of about $17,000 -- and issue a public apology to Bolina.

According to a report on Hockeyrefs.com, the judge told Kubina's attorney that "all criticism has some limits and statements such as someone is 'corrupt bastard' can't be perceived as adequate criticism."

Kubina and his handlers disagree with the ruling.

"Things are said in the heat of the moment all the time," Svoboda, a former NHL defenceman with the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers, said. "I can't tell you some of the things I've heard in the emotion of the game over the years."

Kubina, 29, agreed to terms on a four-year,$20 million US deal with the Leafs when the free agent market opened on July 1.

HUNTER ARRESTED

London Knights co-owner, president and head coach Dale Hunter is facing two drunk driving charges.

After a car was pulled over around 1:10 a.m., Hunter was arrested and charged with impaired driving and driving with a blood-alcohol ratio higher than the legal allowable limit, 80 milligrams.

Police didn't say when Hunter's first court appearance will be.

ALL SIGNED UP

The Vancouver Canucks signed free agent defenceman Yannick Tremblay to a one-year contract. The former Leaf, who will earn $450,000, played for the Mannheim Eagles in the German Hockey League last season ... Winger Peter Schaefer agreed to a four-year, $8.4-million contract with the Ottawa Senators ... The Buffalo Sabres and centre Tim Connolly avoided salary arbitration, agreeing to a three-year contract ... The Florida Panthers avoided arbitration with defencemen Mike Van Ryn and Ric Jackman by re-signing both. Van Ryn received a four-year deal.


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