The video tribute almost was too much for Tomas Kaberle to bear.

And following his first game at the Air Canada Centre in a National Hockey League uniform that did not have a blue and white maple leaf on the chest, the Boston Bruins defenceman acknowledged he had a difficult time keeping a grip on his emotions.

"I never thought it was going to be that tough," Kaberle said. "I am kind of glad it is over. It was emotional, a lot of things were going through my head. It was not an easy game."

There were no boos for Kaberle, who played in 878 games for the Leafs until he was traded to Boston in February. The majority of fans at the ACC did not cheer when Kaberle touched the puck, but that didn't matter: Their collective respect for the quiet 33-year-old was as clear as the supermoon.

When clips of Kaberle's time with the Leafs were shown on the centre-ice clock during a stoppage in play in the first period, a prolonged standing ovation was the result.

"It was really nice from the fans," Kaberle said. "They gave me a lot of support in my 12 years here. Thanks to them. They have been like the seventh player, always. Lots of memories."

And in true classy Kaberle fashion, he could not help but throw a compliment to Leafs rookie goalie James Reimer, who ran his record to 15-7-4 with a 35-save performance.