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Grabovski Suspension Lets Canes Off The Hook

Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski's ongoing feud with fellow Belarussian and ex-teammate Sergei Kostitsyn boiled over in last night's Montreal-Toronto game. And Grabovski's shove and antics toward an official following the altercation will cost him three games in the pressbox.

TSN has confirmed that Grabovski was given a Category 1 infraction for contact with an official, which comes with a mandatory three-game suspension that can only be overruled by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman. Toronto will not appeal the suspension and Grabovski — who racked up 32 penalty minutes last night — will miss games at Philadelphia (Jan. 10), home vs. Nashville (Jan. 13) and at Carolina (Jan. 15).

While the Leafs are the biggest loser in all of this, the Hurricanes are the main beneficiary. Grabovski has played his best hockey against Carolina this season, scoring two goals in each of the teams' two games this season (Nov. 2 and Nov. 4), plus adding one assist. His five points against the Canes are the most he has against any team (His next best? Three goals in three games against Boston) and he was a constant threat during that early November home-and-home series. The 24-year-old forward had played in all 41 of the Leafs' games this year, scoring 12 goals with 11 assists — including seven power play points — and a respectable minus-3 in nearly 17 minutes of ice time a game.

The teams close out the season series Jan. 19 in Toronto, two games after Grabovski is scheduled to return from suspension.

I'm sure the Hurricanes send a big thanks to the younger Koistitsyn brother for riling up his arch nemesis.