Mikhail Grabovski: Out of Montreal, Paying DIvidends for Toronto

Matt EichelSenior Writer IApril 6, 2009

BUFFALO, NY - MARCH 27:  Mikhail Grabovski #84 of the Toronto Maple Leafs looks on during the game against the Buffalo Sabres on March 27, 2009 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

With 46 points in 75 games in his sophomore year in Toronto, the future looks bright for Mikhail Grabovski in blue and white.

Yet, the Montreal Canadiens should be happy they shipped Grabovski when they did.

Known to be a player with an angry streak and a character for misbehaving, Grabovski's antics have become known league-wide.

From his abuse of the official in a game against his former team to taking off on the a late season western road trip last season, Grabovski's tantrums have not given him such a good reputation, especially with his former club.

During a 6-3 drubbing at the hands of the Leafs in early November, Canadiens captain Saku Koivu exchanged pleasantries with Grabovski while the latter sat on the ice.  What was exchanged was left up to the imagination.

"He gave Mikhail some special advice," said Alex Ponikarovsky as a translator for Grabovski.

"Koivu told him something, but (Grabovski) doesn't want to say.  Just some special advice he'll use in the future." added Ponikarovsky.

"Grabovski respects Koivu and he's the only guy in the Montreal room he respects.  he thinks Koivu is a super special guy and hockey player.  He just doesn't pay attention to the rest of them."

And why would he?  After being shipped up and down, back and forth between the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL and the Canadiens, Grabovski had had enough and it eventually boiled over into his temper tantrum and his taking off after a game in Phoenix.

Grabovski missed the team flight on purpose, upset that he was yet again a healthy scratch.

"The Canadiens knew what they had in Mikhail, but you have to find room for people." admits Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson.

"A guy like that needs to play 17, 18 minutes to be effective."

And Grabovski's 46 points this season shows how those minutes needed to be added to his repertoire.

"[The Canadiens] have an unbelievable group of forwards over there, so much skill."

And thus with the Sergei Kostitsyns and the Matt D'Agostinis getting the call over Graboski, they decided to ship him to Toronto.

With so much passion and motivation when playing his former club, Grabovski has started a new chapter in the Toronto-Montreal rivalry.

Yet, Grabovski has had such a temper and been as undisciplined as Sergei Kostitsyn.  And having two of those pouty players in the lineup may not be good for any team.

Add to that the fact that Sergei and Grabovski are at each others throats every time they play each other, and the rivalry is going to pick up with Brian Burke and Ron Wilson at the helm as well.

Still, all I've got to say is thank goodness the Montreal Canadiens traded Mikhail Grabovski.