Thursday, July 04, 2013

He Said It: Mikhail Grabovski

"I play in the [expletive] Russian KHL, I make lots of [expletive] points and what's going to happen? He make me [expletive] play on the fourth line and he put me in the playoffs on the fourth line and third line again," Grabovski spewed. "Yeah, I don't score goals. I need to work more about that. I know that. But if you feel support from your coach [you'll find success]. I don't feel any support from this [expletive] idiot." – Mikhail Grabovski, July 4, 2013, per Jonas Siegel, TSN.

I don’t blame Grabbo for burning his bridges on his way out of Toronto. Even in the dark times of this franchise’s history he always gave it his all and never backed down from larger opponents. He deserved a better fate than to play third and fourth-line minutes for a coach that doesn’t seem to know how to get the most out of all of his players.

Remember Joffrey Lupul in Anaheim? That scenario is playing itself out again with Grabovski, and now Leafs Nation is left wondering if general manager Dave Nonis is really this stupid or is he being held captive in the bowels of the Air Canada Centre while head coach Randy Carlyle calls the shots.

It was merely a coincidence that I had started drinking at 9am this morning when news leaked that the Leafs were using a non-compliance buyout to shed Grabbo’s $27.5 million contract, which had four more years to run. Presumably, this gives the Leafs more cap space to make a run at more than one free agent. It can be argued that this is the dumbest move that Nonis has made since he took over for Brian Burke, but let’s withhold judgment until tomorrow. If Nonis signs Stephen Weiss, David Clarkson and/or Rob Scuderi, then I’m okay with this move. Anything less, including paying Tyler Bozak the equivalent of 8 million tins of Kiwi shoe polish over the next eight years to masquerade as a top-six center, and there will be lots of furious anger from Leafs Nation this coming weekend.

I’m sad to see Grabbo go. Part of me wishes he’d sign with a division rival like the Detroit Red Wings just to make Carlyle’s life a living hell a handful of times a year. But whomever signs him will be getting a great second-line center that can score 20-30 a year if he’s given more ice time than the ice girls. Hopefully he’ll find a team that will appreciate his talents more than Carlyle ever did.

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