New Leaf the talk of the town

ROB LONGLEY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:09 AM ET

Given that he speaks mostly Russian, first-year Leaf Mikhail Grabovski won't go down as the most verbose Maple Leaf, at least in terms of what the general public sees.

But don't let that fool you: The diminutive forward has plenty to stay inside the locker room.

"He speaks more English than he lets (the media) know," Leafs head coach Ron Wilson said recently.

"He knows what's going on. He understands."

SURPRISE

Grabovski has been one of the pleasant surprises among general manager Cliff Fletcher's off-season additions. Acquired from Montreal for the rights to Greg Pateryn and a second-round pick in the 2010 entry draft, Grabovski has lived up to Wilson's expectations as a fast, skilled player.

Working mostly on a line with Niklas Hagman and fellow rookie Nikolai Kulemin, Grabovski was a team-high 10 goals, including a hot streak in early November in which he scored inf four consecutive games.

Heading into the weekend, Grabovski leads all NHL rookies in goal scoring and in November was runner-up to goaltender Steve Mason for rookie of the month honours.


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