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Leafs' Mikhail Grabovski avoids suspension for alleged bite

CBC

Two games, er, no further discipline, Mr. Grabovski, for allegedly biting an opponent.

The National Hockey League, following a Monday morning phone session with Mikhail Grabovski of the Toronto Maple Leafs, decided not to suspend or fine the fast-skating centre after an incident in Saturday’s 6-0 victory in Montreal.

Canadiens forward Max Pacioretty had accused Grabovski of biting his wrist during a scrum midway through the third period at the Bell Centre. During the melee, a gloveless Pacioretty reached from behind and put his arm across Grabovski’s mouth and face in an attempt to take off his helmet.

“He [expletive] bit me,” Pacioretty yelled to officials as he left the ice, his right arm apparently showing the evidence before he finally hurled his helmet down the corridor toward the dressing room.

Both players were assessed 10-minute misconducts while Grabovski also earned a roughing minor.

After the game, Pacioretty said he received a tetanus shot as a precaution.

"It was an emotional game," Pacioretty said Monday. "It got out of hand. People were fired up."

Pacioretty's teammates were a little more fired up after the game.

"That doesn't belong in our sport," Montreal defenceman Josh Gorges said. "If you get in there, stand up for yourself, be a man, drop your gloves and you'll have respect.

"But bite somebody? That doesn't belong in our league."

On Sunday, Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle was confident Grabovski wouldn’t be further disciplined.

“Did you look at the video?” he asked. “Bottom line, it’s got to be conclusive, right?”

Montreal bench boss Michel Therrien said he saw the bite behind his team’s bench.

"You can see that on the video," he said. "I'm sure the league's going to pay attention to that."

Saturday's incident may have conjured up memories of the 2011 Stanley Cup final when Vancouver's Alex Burrows appeared to bite the finger of Boston's Patrice Bergeron in Game 1. There was no suspension issued in that incident.

Monday's hearing was rescheduled from Sunday for unspecified reasons.

Grabovski, 29, has three goals and two assists in 12 games but hasn't registered a point in his last seven contests.

The sixth-year NHLer has been Public Enemy No. 1 in Montreal at various times since being a member of then-Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau’s doghouse for 27 games in the 2007-08 season.

In April 2009, his hit against Montreal blue-liner Andre Markov injured the Russian’s knee, putting him out of action for the final four games of the regular season and through a four-game quarter-final playoff sweep at the hands of Boston.

Grabovski had also feuded that season with fellow Belarusian Sergei Kostitsyn, even vowing to fight the then-Habs forward away from the rink.

“I think he is not Belarusian now, he is French because I never fight with Belarusian guys,” Grabovski said at the time. “I don’t know why he wants to fight with me. If he wants to fight, we’ll go in the street and every minute of every day I’ll wait for him and we’ll fight."

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