Maple Leafs' Mikhail Grabovski out with stomach ailment

Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski missed Friday practice while battling gastrointestinal issues....

Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski missed Friday practice while battling gastrointestinal issues. (Paul Bereswill/Getty Images/AFP)

TERRY KOSHAN, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:52 PM ET

TORONTO - Ho hum.

Just another Maple Leafs practice at the MasterCard Centre on Friday in preparation for Game 41 on the regular-season schedule.

Yeah, right.

As if the impending match with the Montreal Canadiens at the Air Canada Centre on Saturday night was not enough — it could be a preview of a first-round playoff series between rivals that have not met in the post-season since 1979 — news came that Mikhail Grabovski has been battling gastrointestinal issues and stayed in New York to have tests done.

Eyebrows were raised immediately when Grabovski was nowhere to be seen at practice.

“It has been a process that has probably gone on for more than two years for him,” Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. “It is not something that is just flared up. It is ongoing ailment we all get. I had it at some point. It is basically that you have extended periods of heartburn and that type of issue he has had to deal with, and now it has got to a point where he has lost some weight with it and we just felt it was best if we had the best people in the world take a look at him, and he was 100% onside with that.”

The agent for Grabovski and Nikolai Kulemin, Gary Greenstin, was at practice. Based in California, Greenstin is in Toronto to visit his clients after stops in Detroit and Boston.

“I hope and I believe it is not serious,” Greenstin said. “But I always worry. He’s part of my family. Grabo is a fighter. He is a great athlete. We’ll see.”

There was some concern that Grabovski might have been part of a roster move, given that his ice time has dwindled and he has not been producing offensively.

Greenstin wouldn’t get into a conversation about Carlyle’s use of Grabovski this season.

“I don’t discuss this, okay?” Greenstin said. “It’s almost the playoffs. My position is the coach is always right and if something is wrong I talk to the manager. That’s it. It’s a coaching decision and I hope the team makes the playoffs. It has been a long time.”

The Leafs should learn the results of Grabovski’s tests later on Friday. It’s unclear whether Grabovski will be in the lineup against Montreal.

If Grabovski is out, Joe Colborne could centre Jay McClement and Leo Komarov. That line practised together on Friday.

Meanwhile, Joffrey Lupul practised but did not take contact. Lupul has not played since last Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers when he was sandwiched between forwards Jay Rosehill and Adam Hall.

“The first couple of days he did not have concussion-type symptoms, but that seemed to develop after the first two days,” Carlyle said. As you know, he was back on the ice right away. He had vision issues. He had lost some peripheral vision and that was the first thing we were trying to deal with. So after that it seemed like those got corrected and we thought we were clear of it, and then the concussion-type symptoms occurred. So I guess you could say that he had a concussion.”

Lupul, who has suffered two concussions in the past, said he felt good after practice and maintained that his status is day to day.

“This is not the time or the type the injury to push things right now,” Lupul said.” “I am pretty happy with where the team is sitting and I think we all are. It is not the time to push something and make it worse.

“I am not thinking it is anything to be overly concerned about. You don’t want to be missing games like tomorrow. It is a game ideally you want to be on the ice for Saturday night against Montreal, but right now we are doing the smart thing and making sure we get it 100% and I am back playing at the top of my game for the playoffs.”

The Leafs have 49 points and are in fifth in the Eastern Conference; the Canadiens have 57 points and are in second, one point ahead of the Boston Bruins.

Both the Leafs and Canadiens, who meet again in Toronto on April 27 to end the regular season, have eight games remaining.

“It is not any different than the first time we met Montreal in Montreal,” Carlyle said. “It is not any different than the last time we played them here. There is always going to be the Montreal-Toronto competition that has been in place over the years. All the media, the coverage that goes into newspapers, all those things are great for the markets and great for hockey. It’s our job as a staff and management to put things in perspective.”


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