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Stanley Cup Final

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

Saturday, 09.14.2013 / 1:25 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the series-winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round