RALEIGH, N.C. -- As Paul Maurice met with Jim Rutherford for dinner on Thursday night and Jeff O'Neill and Bates Battaglia hooked up with friends in their old hockey stamping grounds, Tomas Kaberle went off in another direction.
Kaberle made his way to the home of his older brother, Frantisek, to catch up after not seeing him since the summer.
Kaberle got to play with his two-year-old niece, Francesca. And there was something else that caught Kaberle's attention -- Frantisek's Stanley Cup ring.
"Yes, I saw it," Kaberle said. "It was really nice, and it would be nice to have my own one day."
If Tomas, who at 28 is five years younger than Frantisek, does have a chance to compete for a Cup, he will have learned a valuable lesson by observing what his brother endured.
Frantisek has not played a minute of hockey for the Carolina Hurricanes since hoisting the Cup at the RBC Center last June. His shoulder bothered him through the Cup run in the spring, but he played with the pain. It was not until later in the summer that a torn labrum was discovered, forcing him to have surgery. Though the original projection had Frantisek out of the lineup for six months, he has resumed skating with the 'Canes and is hoping to return in late January or early February.
"We were talking in the summer about how we were done for two months and he was still playing," Tomas Kaberle said. "The injury is a price to pay, but it's why everybody plays this game. It is not about money all the time. It's about pride, what you take into games and what you do well."
Frantisek, who yesterday watched the Leafs morning skate from the Hurricanes bench and had a chat with fellow Czech Pavel Kubina, would have liked to have suited up against his little brother last night.
"I wish I could be playing, but I will be soon enough," Frantisek Kaberle said. "Of course, the injury was worth it."