Kaberle mum on trade list

It's going to be a long two weeks in and around the Leafs dressing room for Tomas Kaberle. (Sun...

It's going to be a long two weeks in and around the Leafs dressing room for Tomas Kaberle. (Sun Media/Dave Abel)

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:14 AM ET

For now, the only team Tomas Kaberle will acknowledge being on his wish list of NHL cities is the one he currently calls home.

As for potential trade destinations that his agent has forwarded Maple Leafs president Brian Burke, the injured defenceman isn't about to reveal the details.

"There is nothing new on that," Kaberle said yesterday at the Air Canada Centre. "Obviously, it might come down to the deadline or the end of the deadline. For now, my main focus is on being a Leaf."

For Kaberle and at least a handful of his teammates, it is going to be a long two weeks in and around the Leafs dressing room.

At least there are three home games this week, beginning with tonight's clash against Buffalo. As an even bigger distraction, the return of former captain Mats Sundin this Saturday with the Vancouver Canucks may give the trade chatter a temporary reprieve.

What is new for Kaberle is that of the list of 10 teams he would waive his no-trade clause for should Burke work out a deal prior to the NHL's March 4 trade deadline, it is believed all are in the Eastern Conference.

As well, Kaberle had the cast removed from his hand, but the broken bones he suffered in a Jan. 29 game against Colorado still haven't healed enough for him to resume full practice. The Czech is likely a week to 10 days away from returning, so it is expected that he will get into at least a handful of games before the deadline.

"I'm willing to do my best here," Kaberle said. "If it's not going to happen (and the Leafs decide they don't want him), I have to move on. It's not like it's just this year and it's not just me. There could be a few guys around here. Everybody has to deal with it. That's the NHL."

Burke has said he isn't in a rush to deal Kaberle, mainly because he is the type of puck-moving defenceman that is difficult to replace. But the fact remains that the talented defenceman remains his most valuable trade currency.

With aging Mathieu Schneider attracting a second- and third-round pick for the Atlanta Thrashers in a deal with Montreal yesterday, that value may even have increased. Burke certainly can aim high for a player of Kaberle's calibre when the talks get serious.

While few expect Burke to make a deal much in advance of the deadline, the sense is that there are few bodies on the current roster that wouldn't be moved if the right offer is made. Kaberle, fellow defenceman Pavel Kubina and forwards Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky are the names most commonly mentioned.

As much as they can be, Leafs players are dealing with the accelerating talk as the deadline inches closer.

"It's going to be a chaotic two weeks, definitely," centre Matt Stajan said. "We'll see what happens ... it's up to management. As players, we can just come to the rink and be prepared. You have friends and family -- someone is always asking what the rumours are.

"The only thing you can worry about is when you get that phone call."


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