Payroll pecking order no problem for Kabs

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:19 AM ET

If Tomas Kaberle were the jealous type, he'd be one crabby Kabby these days.

The veteran defenceman came to training camp this season as just the third-highest paid defenceman on the Maple Leafs roster, despite arguments from his supporters that he might be the team's top blue liner.

When the veteran defenceman inked a five-year, $21.25 million US contract with the Leafs last winter, he had no idea teammate Bryan McCabe and free agent Pavel Kubina would land more lucrative deals with the team in the coming months.

First came McCabe's whopping five-year, $28.75- million pact -- complete with a no-movement clause -- that was signed in June.

Just days later, Kubina, Kaberle's former teammate with the Czech Republic national team, was wooed to Toronto with a four-year, $20-million offer.

If you break down the average salary per season, McCabe leads Toronto defencemen at $5.75 million, followed by Kubina at $5 million and Kaberle at $4.25 million.

Fortunately for the Leafs, Kaberle is not bitter about the pay structure, choosing to follow the credo: "To each his own."

"I don't care if someone else gets more," Kaberle said yesterday after another sweaty training camp workout at the Ricoh Coliseum.

"That's the business. That's the agent's job. It doesn't matter to me because I'm happy here. Thats the bottom line.

"I had no reason to look somewhere else. That's why in January I decided where I wanted to be. I think I made it clear I want to be in Toronto. Hopefully, my future will be here for a long time."

Not only is Kaberle not envious of Kubina's contract, he actually helped him land it.

"When Pavel was close to the deal, he asked me about the city," said Kaberle, who racked up nine goals and 67 points last season. "I told him it probably was the best city to play in. When you play well, everybody loves you. When you don't, everybody is on you. It keeps you working hard every day. There are no vacations here.

"The Stanley Cup has not been here since 1967 and we'd love to do it again. I told him that. I told him it was a great city and that all my teammates were good guys. That's when he decided to come."

In this instance, Kaberle really did take one for the team.


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