PHILADELPHIA -- Mikhael Grabovski's emotional return to play his former team has come with a price.
The Leafs forward was suspended for three games today for pushing NHL linesman Scott Cherrey late in Thursday's 6-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens.
Grabovski became animated in his attempt to get at Montreal's Sergei Kostitsyn late in the third period. After being tackled to the ice, Grabovski got up and shoved the official earning an mandatory three-game suspension today.
"It's automatic," Leafs assistant to the general manager, Cliff Fletcher said. "The bottom line is you can't touch an official. There's no appeal process.
"(Grabovski) plays with a lot of emotion and we like that about him. But you canít touch an official."
Grabovski has a running feud with the Canadiens dating back to last season when he was with the club. He angered some teammates when he complained about his lack of ice time and Habs general manager Bob Gainey dealt him to the Leafs in the summer.
In an earlier meeting this season, Grabovski had altercations on the ice with Montreal captain Saku Koivu and goaltender Carey Price. On Wednesday, Grabovski was booed by the Bell Centre crowd every time he touched the puck.
After the game, he tried to duck reporters but when caught on the way to the team bus, had this to say about Kostitsyn:
"I think he is not Belarussian now, he is French because I never fight with Belarussian guys," Grabovski said, while admitting he expected to be suspended. "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."
Meanwhile, the suddenly feisty Leafs had an appropriate practice facility here in the City of Brotherly Love. Their early afternoon skate took place at the Spectrum, infamous original home to the Broad Street Bullies era of the Flyers.