Friday AM – Leafs/Kaberle – Is today the day he gets traded to the b's?

No deal for Kaberle . . . yet

Burke has work cut out for him

With Giguere hurt, Leafs begin goalie hunt

No deal for Kaberle . . . yet

Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke applied the brakes to the rumour mill spinning around defenceman Tomas Kaberle on Thursday.

Burke told a radio audience no trade agreement had been reached with the Boston Bruins, and that the team continues “to talk to multiple teams” leading up to the Feb. 28 trade deadline.

Burke engaged in a wide-ranging, often engrossing discussion during his appearance on NHL Live! on Thursday afternoon. He denied speculation Kaberle, an unrestricted free agent after the season, had provided a list of teams to which he would permit a trade.

“My guess is, if we found something that was attractive and went back to the agent, Tomas might be receptive to that — but that’s far from clear or far from done,” Burke told the hosts. “We’re just going to keep knocking on doors. The fact that he has a no-trade (clause) doesn’t prohibit me from talking to other teams about potential trades, which we’ve done.

“Tomas and I haven’t had one discussion on this. He’s played really well for us and he’s a quality person. I’m leaving him alone and dealing with (his agent).”

Earlier in the day, TSN reported a deal with the Bruins was almost complete.

A second TSN reporter suggested Toronto would be looking for prospects in return.

Another report, this time from Boston, said the Bruins were looking to move defenceman Mark Stuart to the Chicago Blackhawks. That move would have been made to clear space under the salary cap for Kaberle, who is earning $4.25 million US this season.

Those reports followed another earlier this week that Kaberle told Toronto he would only accept a trade to the Bruins.

“That’s not accurate, and I wouldn’t accept those terms — that’s not fair to us,” Burke told the radio hosts. “If those were the conditions I would tell the agent, ‘No, that’s not acceptable’. That’s not true. It’s not true that the deal is done with Boston.”

Burke has work cut out for him

Brian Burke’s reputation as one of the NHL’s more flamboyant wheeler dealers is well known, which is why he felt the need late last week to brief his captain on the current situation.

The Leafs general manager met with Dion Phaneuf and essentially told him that despite the trades and trade rumours swirling around the team, management hadn’t given up on the current season.

“As a player you never mail it in and (Burke), wanted to make it clear that he felt that way too,” Phaneuf said. “This team isn’t going to quit.”

But therein lies the challenges in the poker player that is Burke.

Massive road victories against Boston and Buffalo this week suddenly has his team six points out of a playoff spot.

But with talk of a Tomas Kaberle deal with the Bruins possibly being done by as soon as Friday and whatever other moves Burke has up his sleeve, how does that effect the current pursuit?

Burke wants to play both ends. The goal every season, he is quick to remind, is to make the playoffs. But the long-term aim is to have a team built not just to sneak into the post-season then exit meekly.

“The notion of getting in eighth and getting spanked in the first round doesn’t do a hell of a lot for me and I don’t think it does a lot for our marketplace,” Burke said Friday on NHL Radio, a point he also made two weeks ago following the Francois Beauchemin trade to Anaheim.

“We’re not just putting together a team that’s going to get thumped in the first round.”

Coach Ron Wilson gave his team a day off Thursday in part, no doubt, as a reward for the big effort in back-to-back road wins. But also there’s a recognition that the team must expend incredible energy just to get back in the race and any chance to rest is crucial.

As it will be until something happens or the Feb. 28 trade deadline passes, that left Kaberle to be the topic of the day.

Reports out of Boston Thursday morning suggested a deal was done that would send the defencemen to the Bruins in a swap that would include forward Blake Wheeler coming this way.

Burke was swift to deny anything being done, but did acknowledge there has been interest in Kaberle from multiple teams.

“I’m not going to bug him every time a GM calls about (a possible trade),” Burke said of Kaberle. “I’m leaving him alone. He’s played well for us and he’s a quality person.

“(But) my guess is if we found something attractive and if we went back to the agent he might accept it. But that’s far from clear or far from done. We’re just going to keep knocking on doors.”

With Giguere hurt, Leafs begin goalie hunt

These days, Leafs GM Brian Burke — in between denials of reports that Tomas Kaberle has been traded — finds himself looking for goalies.

Two weeks ago, the team carried three goalies, and the organization figured it had five really good ones. Now, they’re suddenly down to two healthy netminders: James Reimer with the Maple Leafs and Ben Scrivens with the Marlies.

Scrivens will be in net for the Marlies on Friday night, said coach Dallas Eakins.

J-S Giguere was the latest to go down, pulling himself from Wednesday night’s game in Buffalo when he tweaked his groin. He was to have seen a specialist on Thursday.

Depending on the results of that appointment, the Leafs may be forced to call up Scrivens, who started the year fifth on the depth chart. The college free agent signed with the Leafs to work with goalie coach Francois Allaire, and started the year in the ECHL.

Jonas Gustavsson had his third heart ablation surgery last week and might be able to work out this weekend, but would be still two weeks away from game shape. Jussi Rynnas has a broken finger and is out for a month.

Giguere said Wednesday night he wasn’t sure he would be able to back up James Reimer against Ottawa on Saturday at the ACC.

The Marlies signed Steve Christie from the University of Manitoba to an amateur tryout and he served as a backup during a pair of games against the Moose this week.

The Marlies are entering a stretch of four games in six days, starting with a visit from Hamilton on Friday night, and need Scrivens and a backup. Burke said he’d call up a couple players from the ECHL.

The goaltending situation isn’t the only thing keeping Burke busy.

A report from a Boston radio station said Kaberle would head to the Bruins in exchange for Blake Wheeler and a draft pick. But the rumour mill suggested Burke was more interested in Bruins rookie forward Jordan Caron, a 20-year-old first round pick (25th) from the 2009 draft.

Burke went on NHL Live, the league’s satellite radio feed, to try to address the Kaberle situation — while at the same time trying not to say too much about it, since the Kaberle camp has asked for “radio silence.”

One tidbit that emerged is that there may be more than one team to which Kaberle would accept a trade. While Boston has long been on the list, Burke revealed he wouldn’t be handcuffed by trading with one team.

“I wouldn’t accept those terms, that’s not fair to us,” Burke told NHL Live. “That’s not true that the deal is done with Boston. . . . We continue to talk to multiple teams and we’ll see where it goes.”–with-giguere-hurt-leafs-begin-goalie-hunt