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Caps’ Grabovski returns after face is cut by skate

November 24, 2013

TORONTO (AP) — When Mikhail Grabovski jumped to his feet quickly and skated off after lingering on the ice following an injury, boos rained down from the Air Canada Centre crowd.

A replay showed just how badly Grabovski was injured.

The Washington Capitals center had blood pouring from his face after he was cut by the right skate of Toronto’s David Clarkson’s late in the second period. Grabovski needed 20 stitches to close two cuts, but he was back on the ice early in the third.

“He’s a warrior,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said after the Maple Leafs’ 2-1 shootout victory. “Of course he wants to play out there. Very scary for him.”

Grabovski wasn’t going to let the fluke accident keep him from finishing the game on the night he was returning to Toronto for the first time since the Leafs bought him out over the summer.

He finished with two shots in 16:18 of ice time but earned plenty of respect in both locker rooms for his toughness.

“Grabbo’s a hardworking guy and he’s an honest guy,” Leafs goalie James Reimer said. “I wasn’t surprised that he stayed in there and fought for his team.”

Capitals goalie Braden Holtby was glad to see Grabovski get back into the game.

“He doesn’t get enough credit for how tough he is,” Holtby said. “He battles through a lot, he fights hard through every game, works as hard as anyone on our team. It’s great to see he didn’t get hurt too bad.”

Grabovski blamed himself for what happened.

“I think it’s a little bit of my fault because I hold the puck too long,” he said.

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