It’s fair to say Mikhail Grabovski was upset when the Toronto Maple Leafs decided to buy him out over the summer. In a profanity-filled rant after the news became public, Grabovski called Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle a “[expletive] idiot.”
Months have passed since then and Grabovski has settled in with the Washington Capitals. He’s excelling with his new team and last night he got his first game against the Toronto Maple Leafs behind him.
Even before the contest started though, the 29-year-old forward was looking to put his previous statements behind him.
“Probably done it differently,” Grabovski said, according to the Toronto Sun. “It’s like so emotional, you know, and we all want to win and do for this (team) everything what we can do.
“From that period of time I think the years I spent in Toronto, I try to win (the) Stanley Cup … that whole emotion, probably, feel the same. (Would) I say (it) again? Probably not.”
Toronto earned a 2-1 shootout victory, but not before Grabovski suffered a scare when he fell and was slashed in the face by David Clarkson’s skate. He needed 20 stitches, but still managed to return, earning the praise of his teammates for his toughness.
With his contest in Toronto out of the way, Grabovski and the Capitals will turn their attention to Wednesday’s match against Ottawa. That will be an important game for Washington after suffering three straight defeats.
Video: Grabovski bloodied by Clarkson’s skate blade
These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.
Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.
It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).
The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.
Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.
It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.
His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.
Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.
He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.
And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.
Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:
As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.
Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?
It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.
Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).
There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.
Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.
The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.
The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”
(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)
For more on the three finalists, click here.