Leafs open for business

MIKE ZEISBERGER, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 11:28 AM ET

NEW YORK -- Just 10 shopping days remain until the March 4 NHL trade deadline and Brian Burke claims the market values for his available commodities have been established.

Now, all that remains is to see who will step up to the table and meet the demands established by the Maple Leafs president and his braintrust.

"We've set the prices internally," Burke said last night, prior to the Leafs' 3-2 overtime victory over the free-falling New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. "If someone is willing to pay the asking price, there is no reason to wait."

To this point, Burke said nothing he has received has been "intriguing."

"But things are heating up," he said. "There has been a noticeable increase in calls."

If those inquiries have been about defenceman Pavel Kubina, it looks as if Burke will have to be blown away by an offer in order to move the steady blue-liner.

After having his point shot deflected by Niklas Hagman at the 3:00 mark of overtime for the winning goal last night, Kubina admitted that he met with Burke on Saturday.

"It went really well," Kubina said. "Brian didn't even ask me for a list of any teams I might be open to going to.

"I don't want to go anywhere. I don't want to leave this team just for a shot at the playoffs with someone else. That's not who I am."

Burke reportedly is seeking at least a first-round pick for forward Nik Antropov. According to a commentary in yesterday's New York Post, anyone who would actually do that would be a "sucker."

Of course, many of those in the disgruntled sellout throng at The World's Most Famous Arena last night would use that same term to describe Rangers general manager Glen Sather for inking struggling defenceman Wade Redden to a six-year, $39-million US deal last summer.

In any event, Burke feels the acquisition of Mathieu Schneider by the Montreal Canadiens last week should accelerate the wheeling and dealing across the league as the deadline looms ever closer.

The Habs also received a conditional draft choice in the 2009 NHL draft from the Atlanta Thrashers as part of that deal. In exchange, the Thrashers received a second-round pick in this year's draft and a third-round pick in 2010.

Given what the Canadiens coughed up for a 39-year-old rearguard, imagine what Tomas Kaberle would fetch on the open market.

Of course, Burke is on record as saying he also would have to be blown away by an offer in order to move Kaberle, a puck-moving resource he would like to keep on board.

Over the weekend, the Boston Globe reported that the Bruins are one of the teams on Kaberle's list of preferred destinations in the event he is moved.

That seems to be a long shot at best, especially in light of Burke's public comments concerning his desire to have Kaberle stay put.

Kaberle, who continues to rehab his fractured hand, admitted yesterday that he was flattered by Burke's vote of confidence. Having said that, Kaberle refuses to rule out the possibility that he might be moved, no matter how remote that possibility might seem.

"It was really nice to hear (Burke) say that, but (a deal) could happen anyway," Kaberle said. "As encouraging as those comments were, I can't start taking it easy because I heard that.

"Every time out there, I want to be the best player."

Kaberle, who skated with assistant coach Keith Acton yesterday, still cannot take a slap shot. As for a wrist shot, he said he is at "75%."

"Before I can even think of playing again, I'll have to get another X-ray taken," he said. "We'll have to see."

STAYING LEAFS?

No matter when he comes back, it appears more and more likely that Kaberle and Kubina will finish the season in Maple Leafs jerseys.

As for goalie Vesa Toskala, he was "the difference in the game," according to Rangers coach Tom Renney. Toskala stopped 39 shots for the win, causing some press box wags to suggest his market value might be going up.

We'll see if Toskala sticks around. It certainly appears Kaberle and Kubina will.

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REPLAY

LAST NIGHT AT NEW YORK

EARLY SCRAP

In one of the more animated scraps of the season, Jamal Mayers and Aaron Voros dropped the gloves less than three minutes into the game.

Mayers got the worst of it in the early going, crumpling to the ice courtesy of a roundhouse uppercut from Voros. To his credit, Mayers jumped right back up and started handing out his own punishment, eventually sending Voros to the ice as well.

Both players received a fine hand from the crowd.

A ROUGH RIDE

Defenceman Wade Redden has not even played his first full season as a Ranger and already he has been made a target by the unforgiving Madison Square Garden throng.

Redden was jeered almost every time he touched the puck last night, a humiliating turn of events when you consider he was playing in front of the home fans.

In the first year of a five-year deal that will pay him about $6.5 million US per season, Redden has just two goals and 14 assists.

NUMBER'S UP

Rangers blue-liner Michal Rozsival wore No. 33 after earlier in the night giving up his No. 3 as it was raised to the rafters in honour of former defenceman Harry Howell.

POINT-GETTERS

Toronto G A P

Lee Stempniak 0 3 3

Pavel Kubina 0 3 3

Niklas Hagman 1 0 1

John Mitchell 1 0 1

Ian White 1 0 1

New York

Michal Rozsival 1 1 2

Brandon Dubinsky 0 2 2

Scott Gomez 1 0 1

Ryan Callahan 0 1 1

NEXT UP

Wednesday -- 7:30 p.m.; New York Rangers at Maple Leafs; TSN, AM 640


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