Photo: Andre Ringuette
On July 1st, Washington Capitals center Mikhail Grabovski will become a UFA, free to sign with any NHL team. While I can only assume whoever the Caps hire as GM would want to re-sign him way before then (please), Grabo has been quietly raising his price halfway across the world at the 2014 World Championship.
On Monday, Grabovski scored the game-winning goal again, this time in a 3-1 victory against Latvia, sending Belarus to the playoff round for the first time since 2009.
Grabo is kicking ass. Amazing goal GIFs incoming.
Grabovski’s first goal against Germany on Saturday ended up being the game-winner. The diminutive center set up in front of the net. After failing to redirect a point shot, Grabovski knocked the puck loose from the German goaltender and sent it into the yawning net.
Later, Grabo turned up the difficulty a notch, splitting both of Germany’s defenders, racing in alone, and scoring on a breakaway.
Against Latvia on Monday, Grabovski went in-between two defenders (one looking for the John Erskine super-check special) and … gosh, this is pretty.
I can’t stop looking at it.
When asked if his inspired performance is motivated by his pending UFA status, Grabovski told The Canadian Press’s Stephen Whyno no.
“I don’t worry about [the new contract],” Grabovski said. “For me personally it’s just time for make myself a better player in big arenas, big ice. But people who know me in NHL, they already know me. It doesn’t matter here.”
Former Caps coach Glen Hanlon, the man who leads Grabo’s Belarus team, has had his mind blown by his performance.
“I don’t know if he’s like in this NHL or if it’s the big ice surface or what it is. But he’s a very dynamic player, my goodness,” he said. “You can’t tell me that teams in the NHL can’t use a player like that. It’s unbelievable. His skill on the power play, his skill to find his wingers is pretty good.”
Whereever the 30-year-old Grabovski ends up next season, that team will end up with a very talented forward. Last season, Grabo was the Caps’ third best possession player and the only forward to drive play on the team (despite the team’s poor season). His performance in this year’s World Championship is just a further reminder how much speed, skill, and finishing ability he has.
It’s a lot.
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