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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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For six months, it's a really good accomplishment. But as soon as April [11, the end of the regular season] comes around, no one thinks about the regular season anymore. For six months, it's a real battle to get into the playoffs in the NHL these days. There are a lot of good teams, and it takes consistency over a long time.

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