Mikhail Grabovski hasn’t signed with any KHL team yet, despite numerous reports that suggested he’d play for either Dinamo Minsk or Barys Astana or even CSKA. The Maple Leafs forward was as surprised to learn about his transatlantic vocation as anybody.
"I have no idea where did this Sport-Express reporter get information about me signing with Dinamo," he said in an interview to Pressball. "Sport-Express loves stuff like that. They reported that Malkin would sign with CSKA like 10 times. My situation is still uncertain. I only know that I want to play and I have a few offers. I don’t know how it’s going to pan out. My agent is working hard on it as we speak. I can assure you I’m going to stay in Toronto for at least one week and practice here. Sure, I would like to play in Minsk. But at the same time I’d rather have lockout ended."
"I decided that if I have to go play somewhere else, I’m only going to play for a team I have something in common with. It may be my hometown team, or a team with a coach I already worked with or something like that. Of course, I take into consideration the financial part too. Hockey career isn’t long. However, it’s not my priority. Besides, my family has to feel comfortable there. So far I’m considering 3 teams," added Grabovsky.
So there is a third team, huh? A few hours after Pressball published the story, Sport-Express reported Grabovsky is going to sign with CSKA, who have already signed center Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings and Ilya Bryzgalov of the Philadelphia Flyers. Theoretically, the Moscow powerhouse can sign one more NHL player. How accurate is this report?
‘Where did you get this information from?! This is also nothing but a rumor! I still haven’t decided where I’m going to play", Grabovsky told Pressball later.
However, at 1am EST Pressball reported that Grabovsky indeed is going to sign with CSKA, while Sergei Kostitsyn, who also was previously reported to sign with Dinamo Minsk, is going to wear Salavat Yulaev jersey this lockout.
While Grabovsky refuses to comment his negotiations with Dinamo, his agent, Garry Greenstein, pointed out that his client’s insurance could be an obstacle in this deal.
Dinamo Minsk head-coach, Kari Heikkilä, also brought this up in his recent interview to Goals.By.
"There are a lot of free agents on the market now. We have to decide if our team needs any of them. It is very important that the players would join our team motivated. We don’t need experienced players to come here for vacation. I would like see Grabovski and [Sergei] Kostitsyn in Dinamo. Every coach wants to see good players on his team. But there’s insurance we have to cover. We have to pay big bucks for these guys every month. Unlike Magnitogorsk, we can’t afford it."
Metallurg Magnitogorsk signed this week Evgeny Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and Nikolai Kulemin.
Dinamo Minsk was reported to sign the Minnesota Wild goalie Nicklas Backstrom, but the deal hasn’t been completed yet.
By the look of it, Minsk is craving for more than they can afford at this moment, which means Grabovsky is going to look for work elsewhere. Perhaps, Moscow is the answer while red and blue are the colors.