<
>

Kaberle out up to six months after surgery

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Frantisek Kaberle, who scored the Stanley
Cup-winning goal for the Carolina Hurricanes this year, had
shoulder surgery Monday and could miss up to six months.

Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said the 32-year-old
defenseman had the operation in Chicago to repair a lingering
injury. He is expected to be out at least four months.

"The shoulder's worn down over time," Rutherford said. "We
had hoped that he could rehab it and strengthen it, but that did
not happen."

Rutherford said Kaberle told team doctors about a month ago that
he had begun feeling better, but "that didn't turn out OK."

Rutherford didn't know which shoulder was injured.

Kaberle is the second high-profile Hurricanes player with a
significant shoulder injury. Forward Cory Stillman could miss up to
40 games after having surgery in August to repair a torn labrum in
his right shoulder.

"It's part of the price you pay for playing so long and not
having a very long offseason to deal with these issues,"
Rutherford said.

Kaberle's agent, Rick Curran, didn't return a telephone message
seeking comment.

Kaberle, who in June signed a four-year contract that will pay
him $2.2 million annually, led Hurricanes defensemen last season
with a career-high 44 points.

He had six goals and a team-leading 38 assists for defensemen.
His power-play goal in the second period of Carolina's 3-1 victory
in Game 7 against the Edmonton Oilers clinched the Hurricanes'
first Stanley Cup. He had four goals and nine assists in the
playoffs.

"You don't replace players like Frank that easily," Rutherford
said. "Certainly, when something like this happens, it does open
the door to give somebody else an opportunity and some more ice
time. We do have good depth at that position, and we have to see
who's going to step up and fill in with the loss of Frank."

One option could be David Tanabe, a defenseman who signed a
one-year, $900,000 contract last month to return to the
organization that drafted him seven years ago.

The Hurricanes, who open training camp on Friday, said
free-agent defenseman Cale Hulse will try out for the team. Hulse,
32, had four points in 39 games with the Phoenix Coyotes and
Columbus Blue Jackets last season, his 10th in the NHL.

Hulse has 16 goals, 79 assists and 1,000 penalty minutes during
a career which also includes stints with the New Jersey Devils,
Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators.