Reports: Capitals indeed sign Grabovski for one year


It appears that the rumors are true: the Washington Capitals signed Mikhail Grabovski to a one-year deal on Thursday, TSN’s Aaron Ward reports. The official confirmation might come a little later, however.

(Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov also reports that it’s a one-year deal.)

Bargain shopping?

Belorussian sports outlet Pressball pegs the contract at $3 million, but it’s unclear if that will end up being the final amount.

If that is true, the Capitals got a steal of a deal. The Toronto Maple Leafs bought out Grabovski’s previous deal, which was worth $5.5 million per season, so it’s hard to look at this as anything but a discount.

Yes, it’s easy to imagine a player taking less money on top of the money he’s getting paid not to play for a different team, but Grabovski is younger than other buyout victims at 29. (Example: Vincent Lecavalier is 33 and suffered far more injury problems.)

The Caps could very well be signing a guy who could be a part of the mix if he passes what serves as a cheap “audition.”

Mixed reviews

Toronto fans will likely give a wide variety of assessments regarding Grabovski. “Advanced stats” inclined onlookers tout Grabovski as a versatile player who was used improperly by Randy Carlyle in 2013. Others will bash him for his unkind words for his former coach and will give him less benefit of the doubt in general.

However you might feel about Grabovski, it’s tough to blame the Capitals for taking a relatively low-risk shot at him, especially if the price is $3 million.

Replacing Ribeiro

That’s some nice savings compared to last season’s second-line center, Mike Ribeiro. Perhaps Grabovski won’t average close to a point per game like Ribeiro did last season, yet many would argue that he’ll better help Washington win more puck possession battles and give them a more versatile option. (It’s also possible that Ribeiro wouldn’t be able to maintain that level of play in 2013-14 and beyond.)

He also allows Brooks Laich to settle into a more comfortable third-line center position (depending upon how head coach Adam Oates assesses the line situations).

This signing reminds some of the Capitals grabbing Tomas Vokoun for a cheap deal in 2011. While that didn’t work out as well as some expected, it’s still a potentially shrewd move for Washington.

If nothing else, it should be fun to watch the Capitals visit Toronto on Nov. 23.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky

Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan


Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?