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|3 мая 2013 года.
Grabovski foggy on Game 1 beatdown details: 'I just remember a very hard hit to my head,' Leafs says day after // Toronto Star
A ragdoll mutilated by an angry child. A chew-toy slobbered to shreds by a pit bull.
Either would adequately describe how Mikhail Grabovski was shaken, rattled and rolled, abused and spit out by assailants in black and gold.
No Maple Leaf took more of a licking and a kicking by the Bruins in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference quarter-final.
A vicious elbow to the head, courtesy of defenceman Andrew Ference in the first period; a thundering hit on the mid-boards by Johnny Boychuk in the third that left the Toronto forward in a stars-and-tweety-bird heap just beneath the McDonald's mid-boards ad that read: "I'm lovin' it.''
The crowd clearly did, Grabovski not so much. Indeed, by the following afternoon, he was having a difficult time recollecting in detail either pasting absorbed, which is not to suggest any damage inflicted on the brain pan.
"I don't see the replay,'' Grabovski told reporters, his battered face only partly an after-effect of Wednesday night contact. "I just remember a very hard hit to my head. You know better than me right now.''
The first drilling - on which there was no penalty called - drew formal disapproval from the NHL, a one-game suspension for Ference handed down by the league late Thursday afternoon. The second was clean but very nearly bone-readjusting.
Before learning of the sitdown for Ference, coach Randy Carlyle declined to comment on the elbow-in-the-ear accosting of Grabovski. "I learned a long time ago that you don't make comments that are directed towards decisions that are put forth by officiating or by upper league management.''
Indeed, it was a lesson learned to the tune of a $10,000 fine for popping off. "My wife wrote it out. I got raspberries for opening my big mouth.''
Grabovski wasn't doing any carping about it either because there's no whingeing in the playoffs. It is, as Carlyle had earlier observed, a big man's game, even for the little guys.
This little guy would allow only that he was startled and a bit head-sloshed in the moment that Ference applied an elbow-sized Q-tip in his ear. "I don't know what happened. I can't remember. You tell me. I remember it was a pretty hard hit, maybe an elbow?''
Were words exchanged between him and Ference afterwards? It certainly looked that way, from a distance. "Uh, I forget.''
No significant damage as result, though, Grabovski reassured. "I feel fine.''
Just a little ... blank.
Besides, playoffs hurt. That's a given, especially in a physical series and this isn't the only one that would qualify at the moment. "If you watch the Blues-L.A. game, it's crazy,'' Grabovski marvelled, wide-eyed. "Those guys are playing so hard. But that's the playoffs. That's the style of playoffs.''
Playing a hunch, Carlyle had moved Grabovski - who's laboured through an inexplicably trying season, his numbers way off - up to the second line. At Thursday practice, he was back down on the third, or maybe it was fourth, hard to tell. "For me, it doesn't matter who I play with.''
He smiled, crookedly, sweetly.
"It's a great day. It's a sunshine day. Everybody is relaxed. It doesn't matter if you lose the last game. Everybody is looking forward to next game.''
Well, Ference excluded.