Baby, what a week!

Pavel Kubina, who has been out of the Maple Leafs lineup since Oct. 9 because of a knee injury,...

Pavel Kubina, who has been out of the Maple Leafs lineup since Oct. 9 because of a knee injury, works out yesterday and will suit up tomorrow night in Boston. (Toronto Sun/Craig Robertson)

TERRY KOSHAN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 1:09 PM ET

Pavel Kubina happily is ready to cap a whirlwind week tomorrow night by becoming part of the intensity that is a National Hockey League game.

But it won't come close to the real-life drama he experienced in the past six days.

Kubina rejoined the Maple Leafs yesterday after returning from his native Czech Republic, where his girlfriend Andrea gave birth late last Thursday. Kubina had arrived with the team that morning in Boston but got a harried call from Andrea.

Kubina raced to the airport, chartered a plane for his homeland and missed the birth by hours.

"I got there (Friday) morning and was there when (Andrea) was getting up," Kubina said. "I was the first out of our families to see the baby. It was an unbelievable feeling."

The girl, named Teresa, weighed seven pounds one ounce. The plan was for Kubina to head home after the game against Montreal last Saturday, be there for induced labour in Ostrava on Monday and return to Toronto today. His little girl had other plans, though, and Andrea had an early Caesarian section.

"I talked to a lot of guys before I left and they supported my decision," Kubina said. "They said I had to be there for the baby and they were right. It's amazing and hard to describe. You have to go through it."

How much did it cost to charter on plane on such short notice?

"I don't know, but I know it is going to be pretty expensive," Kubina said. "It's going to be worth all the money."

Andrea could not fly to Toronto late in her pregnancy and she will arrive in the city with the baby in a couple of weeks. Until then, Kubina just wants to begin his Leafs career in earnest. Thanks to a one-game suspension and a knee injury he suffered on Oct. 9, Kubina has played in just three games.

"It has been a long five weeks and I am very excited to be back," said Kubina, who signed a four-year, $20-million US contract in July. "I feel like I missed a whole season already."

With Kubina slated to be in the lineup tomorrow night in Boston, the Leafs pared their defence corps to six. Jay Harrison, who has played five games but none since Oct. 28, was sent to the Toronto Marlies on a conditioning stint, and Staffan Kronwall, who has recovered from an ankle injury, was assigned to the Marlies.

Wade Belak practised with the forwards yesterday, so it appears Brendan Bell is safe for the time being.

Coach Paul Maurice said he is not figuring Kubina will come in and blow everyone away immediately.

"He is going to run fewer minutes than we expect he will in two weeks," Maurice said. "Probably at the 18-minute mark. It is going to take him awhile. The conditioning I am not worried about, but for defence it is all timing and getting into a rhythm."


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