All talk and no action

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

Tomas Kaberle wants all the doubters to get the following message through their thick skulls one final time.

He is not leaving the Maple Leafs.

He is not waiving his no-trade clause.

And not just because a certain well-endowed female in the Air Canada Centre stands has decided to exhibit her, ah, assets in the direction of the Leaf bench either.

About 90 minutes after a young lady sitting in the platinums had flashed hooting and hollering members of the crowd during the Leafs 3-1 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets last night, Kaberle emerged from the Leafs dressing room hoping to squash some of the scuttlebutt involving him that has been wafting out of the general managers meetings in Naples, Fla.

Various reports this week suggested the Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers were close to a deal for Kaberle, with former Soo Greyhound star Jeff Carter rumoured to be part of the package coming back to Toronto.

In the end, it was all moot.

"I told my agent (Rick Curran) that I am staying," said Kaberle, whose average salary of $4.25 million US per season has made him an attractive commodity on the trade market. "My agent passed that on to (Leafs general manager) Cliff Fletcher. And Cliff respected my wishes.

"I re-signed here two years ago because I want to be a Maple Leaf. And that is what I am going to be."

Maybe this will finally end all the trade speculation that has swirled around him the past several days, rumours that continued to churn despite his constant claims that he would remain in blue-and-white.

Aside from Kaberle, the Leaf that has been drawing the most interest at the meetings easily has been Mats Sundin. The hot buzz around the rink yesterday had the Montreal Canadiens pursuing him, although such talk was news to the captain.

Asked if he was taking French lessons, a confused look quickly came over his face.

"No. Why?," he asked.

Told about the stories linking him to the Habs, he claimed he had not heard them. Nor was he aware of the reports circulating around the city yesterday that maybe, just maybe, this would be his final game in a Leaf jersey.

"I didn't know about (the reports)," he said. "Hey, I'm a player. I have no other agenda other than to play hard every night."

Sundin was so focused on beating the Blue Jackets, he didn't even see the now-famous blond flasher in the lower bowl.

"I guess I really missed something then," he laughed.

In the coming days, interim general manager Cliff Fletcher likely will plop one of the proposals in front of Sundin, who continues to insist he wants to remain a Leaf.

In fact, the captain did his part to help keep the Leafs fading playoff hopes alive, notching his 37th assist of the season in the win over the Blue Jackets, Toronto's second consecutive victory

Sundin and Kaberle are among five Leafs with no-trade clauses, the others being Darcy Tucker, Bryan McCabe and Pavel Kubina. All have insisted they do not want to be shipped out.

Ironically, McCabe almost had Tucker shipped out to the hospital in the first period when his slapshot nailed him in the right foot. A hobbled Tucker limped off to the Leaf dressing room but was able to return in the second period.

Carlo Colaiacovo opened the scoring at 5:41 of the first period with his second of the season. After Nik Antropov and Nikolai Zherdev exchanged goals, Chad Kilger finished off an entertaining first period with his 10th goal, giving the Leafs a 3-1 lead heading into the intermission.


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