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Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tomas Kaberle-Bruins talks on hold

By Joe McDonald

BOSTON -- Bruins defenseman Tomas Kaberle has made significant contributions to Boston's blue line since the team acquired him on Feb. 18 from the Toronto Maple Leafs.

At the time of the deal, where the Bruins surrendered prospect Joe Colborne, a 2011 first-round pick and a 2012 conditional pick in the second round, Boston's general manager Peter Chiarelli said he had every intention of signing Kaberle to an extension at the end of the 2010-2011 season.

The 33-year-old defenseman will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but both sides are focused on playoffs and Boston's chances to win a Stanley Cup. Just prior to the trade transaction, Chiarelli called Kaberle's agent, Rick Curran, for reassurance that a future discussion could take place regarding a contract extension.

Since that point, there has been no communication between the sides in regards to an extension.

"Not really, but it's not an issue with us and never has been," said Curran. "Priority has always been to move ... adjust ... and contribute to winning something. We're confident the rest will fall into place at the appropriate time."

When Chiarelli held a news conference at TD Garden to announce the trade, he made it clear he wants to retain Kaberle's services for the long term, and speaking with Wednesday afternoon, the GM remains steadfast. Chiarelli also said talks would resume when necessary.

"There hasn't been any beyond the initial discussion I had with his agent and we decided to talk after the season," Chiarelli said. "I have a good relationship with his agent and I expect there to be good negotiations once the season is over. This period is also a feeling-out period for both Tomas and for us, so that's the way we're approaching it."

In 18 games in a Bruins sweater, Kaberle has helped quarterback the team's power play. He's also registered one goal and six assists for seven points, with a plus-6.

"His contributions, so far, he's changed the balance of our defense," Chiarelli said. "You saw that right away when he came in that first game against Ottawa. [His presence] redistributed certain responsibilities around him, and he took some of the onus off of some of the other defensemen, as far as puck retrieval and puck movement."

Despite a recent dry spell on the power play, Chiarelli felt the back end of the special team's unit did improve and the Bruins are starting to finally see results in that category.

The additions of Kaberle and forwards Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly have helped the Bruins since the deadline, and with the Stanley Cup playoffs on the horizon, it appears all are comfortable with the transition to a new team.

"One of the reasons we did these trades earlier was to get [Kaberle], and the other guys, acclimated," Chiarelli said. "I feel he is getting acclimated and he has world-class skill that is hard to find. I've been very happy with his contributions."

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for