In his first season (of, hopefully, many) as a Washington Capital, Mikhail Grabovski has been one of the team’s most dependable players. He scored a hat trick in his first game, leads all forwards in possession, and is second only to Jay Beagle at winning face-offs. So when Grabovski went down with an ankle injury against the New Jersey Devils, the Capitals suffered a big loss.
Grabovski re-injured that same ankle one month later against the Florida Panthers on his first shift back on the ice. Since then Grabovski has not skated and Caps head coach Adam Oates has been noncommittal on when the Belarusian center would return.
On Monday, Tribuna’s Vadim Knyrko caught up with Grabovski and asked him about his injury. Grabovski revealed that he isn’t going to skate for another two weeks, pushing his return — at the earliest — into early April, the very end of the Caps’ season. That’s not good. Grabo also is not pleased with Bryce Salvador.
Fedor Fedin has your translation.
Mikhail, how is your health?
Mikhail Grabovski: It’s okay, going as scheduled. I’m getting better. I feel good, but the doctors say the rehab isn’t over. Don’t expect me on the ice for the next two weeks.
Do you remember how you got injured?
MG: Sure. The New Jersey defenseman Salvador came in from behind. To be honest, I didn’t notice him right away. He undercut me, our legs got tied up and I sprained a ligament.
Bryce Salvador is no good boy.
MG: After the injury I watched a few Devils game. Salvador is really not the cleanest player. I wouldn’t call him too dirty, but he likes to check you when no one is looking. Next time against New Jersey I’ll be more careful — you need to be on alert and keep an eye out. You can’t relax against NHL defensemen for a second. Almost the same thing happened when I aggravated it. I think I’m to blame — I got out there too early and aggravated the injury. I should’ve fully rehabbed.
It looked as if on the second play your opponent fell on your leg on purpose.
MG: You know, there are like ten such plays in every game. Probably I didn’t get lucky because I played not fully healed. The ankle is the most important part of body for the hockey player. On the ice, the leg is moving back and forth inside the skate. So it’s a troublesome injury. It felt okay at the practice, but I really wanted to play — I was hungry to play. I had the similar situation in my career a couple years ago, just with the other foot. I got hurt, I healed quickly and got injured again. Now I will heal fully and will not be reckless about it. Life doesn’t end here.
Have you skated already?
MG: A few days ago I skated for the first time since injury, by myself, without the team. In general, my leg doesn’t hurt. I’ll skate by myself for a week and then I’ll practice with the guys. Then I’ll gradually increase the load and will get into contact. I really want to play. I know I can help the team. If Washington will need me immediately, I’ll go out there and play through the pain.
Do your teammates ask you about your health?
MG: We meet in the locker room all the time. I have almost no limp walking around. They laugh and say, “Stop it! Come on, stop playing fool! You’re healthy!”, I have no cast, no bandage. They can’t look at my foot from the inside.
They think you’re just acting like you’re hurt?
MG: I don’t think so, but doesn’t mean they can’t tease me.