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Ex-Leafs centre Grabovski eager to begin new chapter with Capitals

Saturday, 09.14.2013 / 1:25 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Ex-Leafs centre Grabovski eager to begin new chapter with Capitals

BELLEVILLE, Ont. - Visa issues have prevented Mikhail Grabovski from beginning the next chapter of his NHL career with the Washington Capitals.

But it's not for a lack of trying. Still waiting on clearance in Toronto, the ex-Maple Leafs centre drove more than 90 minutes to skate with his new teammates at Yardman Arena in Belleville before their pre-season opener against the Winnipeg Jets.

It was at least a brief chance for Grabovski to introduce himself to a team that remains unfamiliar with the regular season less than three weeks away.

"(I'm) a little bit frustrated but I'm not worried because I know they make for me visa, so everything's going to be fine," Grabovski said. "I'm just excited to see the guys today. I'm very happy to be here."

Grabovski signed a one-year, US$3-million deal with the Capitals in August after the Leafs bought him out of the final four years of a five-year, $27.5-million contract. But visa issues have kept him from moving on fully from his life in Toronto.

The 29-year-old hopes to have things cleared up Monday so that he can fly to Washington and join training camp.

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You don't see many. The [Drew] Doughtys, the [P.K.] Subbans, those are guys that create offense from the back and then on top of that ability, the size that he has. In the West you play against some pretty big players, and being able to clear the crease and contain the [Ryan] Getzlafs and the [Corey] Perrys and [Anze] Kopitars and players like that, we're excited about him going back there.

— Sharks general manager Doug Wilson on Brent Burns returning back to defense