Window closing on Kaberle deal

Leafs GM Brian Burke won't be rushed into trading Tomas Kaberle. (Errol McGihon/QMI AGENCY)

Leafs GM Brian Burke won't be rushed into trading Tomas Kaberle. (Errol McGihon/QMI AGENCY)

LANCE HORNBY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 PM ET

Brian Burke’s window to move Tomas Kaberle is getting down to two weeks, but the Maple Leafs’ general manager insists he’s not going to be pressured into a rushed deal.

Though Kaberle is resigned to being traded by

Aug. 15, before his no-trade clause kicks back in and the Leafs signed veteran defenceman Brett Lebda in anticipation of losing the defenceman, Burke insisted Thursday “We get a deal we like or we keep the player”.

Burke is clearly hoping the Ilya Kovalchuk grievance is heard by next week and his status for this season is settled, allowing thwarted suitors of the scoring winger to focus on Kaberle. But if the Leafs can’t get their own top-six forward from a Kaberle trade, there is belief that Toronto will pursue a different route, if the price for players such as Boston’s Marc Savard drops. The Bruins are in a cap squeeze and Savard, who was magic with Phil Kessel as a Bruin, might waive his no-trade, desiring to play near family in the GTA. The 33-year-old Savard has a front-loaded, seven-year contract.

CLUB VIC

One of the main talking points at the Molson Canadian World Hockey Summit Aug. 23-26 in Toronto will be the chance that the Stanley Cup winners could play a future European champion for the Victoria Cup and world club supremacy.

Burke, NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly and KHL president Alexander Medvedev will be on the panel.

“We need to focus on the timing of the various IIHF tournaments and which of those include the use of NHL players,” Burke said.

Also on the agenda that day will be discussion of making the NHL-run World Cup part of the regular rotation with the Olympics and world championships.

NO THANKS

Pittsburgh GM Ray Shero has a couple of superstars at or above Kovalchuk’s class in Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, but he’s not high on locking them up for the 17-year deal that the Devils attempted before the NHL blew the whistle. Crosby and Malkin are on five-year plans averaging $8.7 million US.

“I don’t think we’ve been a real fan of 10, 12, 17-year deals,” Shero told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When we got into Crosby’s deal, five years seemed to be about it.

“Too many things can go wrong, the player’s unhappy, the player doesn’t perform, the team doesn’t perform like you think, there’s a change in ownership. A lot of things can happen on both ends that, after you get married that day, can change over the course of 10, 15 years.”

ICE CHIPS

Forward Joel Champagne, picked 129th overall by the Leafs in 2008, is going to try his luck with Red Bulls Salzburg in the Austrian League. He closed with 36 points in 29 games with Victoriaville of the QMJHL. He’s the third QMJHL player to depart the Leafs this summer after Philippe Paradis and Chris DiDomenico were part of the Kris Versteeg trade ... You have to like the chances of a goalie who won the Cup to do well in an arbitration hearing. But the cap-strapped Blackhawks are hoping Antti Niemi can be brought in under budget after his hearing took place Thursday in Toronto. They like Niemi and know he deserves a raise, but can’t likely afford his rumoured $3 million request ... The Ducks and Teemu Selanne continue to talk, but no deal is in place for him to play an 18th NHL season ... Stung by complaints they have overlooked players from their past, the Panthers have named Brian Skrudland, one their ’96 Cup final playoff heroes, to a player development post ... Ex-Leafs assistant Mike Kitchen replaces John Torchetti as a back bencher in Chicago, re-uniting with another former coach in the Toronto system, Joel Quenneville ... Panthers’ GM Dale Tallon probably won’t like to talk golf when the season starts, seeing how his new team missed the playoffs every year since 2001, but he’s fired up to play in this weekend’s U.S. senior open at Sahalee near Seattle ... There was a great photo op with Sidney Crosby at the Winter Classic presser at Heinz Field on Wednesday, as he and some teammates tried shooting pucks through the Steelers’ uprights from 70 yards out.


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