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Capitals receive glimpse of Grabovski.
15.09.2013. Carrera, Katie. Washington Post – Blogs

BELLEVILLE, Ontario - Mikhail Grabovski, the Washington Capitals' top offseason acquisition, remains stuck in Toronto because of visa issues, but on Saturday he finally met his new teammates.

The 29-year-old center traveled nearly two hours to take part in the Capitals' morning skate at Yardmen Arena ahead of their preseason opener later Saturday against the Winnipeg Jets. Grabovski would not play, though, and three weeks after he signed his one-year, $3 million deal it's still uncertain when he will be able to move to Washington.

"You know, a little bit frustrated, but I'm not worried because I know they make for me visa, so everything gonna be fine," said Grabovski, who has a meeting scheduled at the U.S. consulate on Monday that the Capitals hope will be the final hurdle before he can join them full time. "I'm just excited to see the guys today. I'm very happy to be here."

Grabovski, who signed with Washington after five seasons in Toronto, made the transition to a new team once before when he was traded from Montreal in 2008. He knows becoming fully accustomed to a dressing room culture takes time. The earlier the process can start, the better.

Capitals Coach Adam Oates appreciates the challenges of making the transition to a new team, having played for seven clubs during his NHL career.

"Obviously a very difficult situation and he hasn't been able to skate for a few days, so just to get him to come up here and meet the guys was probably the best part of it," Oates said. "New scenery, you want to get off to a great start, and a visa issue kind of derails you. So I'm sure he's very frustrated with that. You've got to feel for him."

Star winger Alex Ovechkin is also doing what he can to help Grabovski assimilate with the Capitals, texting the center and telling him what to expect once he is able to cross the border.

"It's nice to [have] him here right now," Ovechkin said. "I think he's very excited and he feel kind of, when you come to new group, little shaky, but I'm sure the guys and myself are going to treat him well and he's going to feel much better."

Grabovski is expected to step into the role of second-line center that was vacated by Mike Ribeiro's departure as a free agent this offseason. He's shown he can excel when in a top-six role - Grabovski recorded two 50-point seasons in that spot for the Maple Leafs - and the Capitals are eager to see him develop chemistry with his new teammates.

While that's on hold for now and prospect Chandler Stephenson is skating in Grabovski's spot, Oates said the center's delayed arrival to training camp shouldn't impact the team's overall progress.

"So as long as it gets done in the next few days," Oates said, "He'll still get five games in, which is kind of what the plan was for everybody."

The postponement hasn't been all bad for Grabovski. His extended time in Toronto has allowed him to spend a little more time with his family.

"I train myself and just work out [in the] gym and just spend time with my family. I kind of lost days in the summer, so it was a little bit [of a] gift to my family," said Grabovski, who got married in early July. "It's not tough. I stuck in Toronto, so it's kind of my home town. It's just tough to come to a new team and new partners. But after first ice, everything's good right now and I feel comfortable." 

Страничка Михаила Грабовского на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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