When Mikhail Grabovski was leveled by San Jose's John Scott on Thursday, the scene was a scary one. Grabovski lay on the ice for a minute or more and was helped off by a trainer, visibly dazed. He did not return to the game, but early reports said his injury wasn't concussion related.
But on Saturday, via Arthur Staple of New$day, the Islanders announced that Grabovski does have a concussion and will be sidelined indefinitely. After passing initial concussion tests, Grabovski felt worse the following day. There is no word yet on whether he will be placed on injured reserve.
But Grabovski awoke Friday morning with concussion symptoms, according to Islanders general manager Garth Snow, and now the concussion protocols are in place. He won't be evaluated again until Monday at the earliest and it will be several days until Grabovski will even return to the ice.
Grabovski did not travel with the Islanders to Pittsburgh, where they lost 3-1 on Saturday night, and no players were recalled from Bridgeport of the AHL. Instead, Nikolay Kulemin, who signed with the Islanders together with Grabovski over the summer, took Grabovski's place on the second line with Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. Cal Clutterbuck moved into Kulemin's third line role next to Frans Nielsen and Josh Bailey, and winger Colin McDonald was inserted into the line-up for the first time this season, taking his old spot on the fourth line.
Grabovski has two goals and an assist in three games this season and had found some fast chemistry with Nelson and Strome. It's likely that his presence was missed against the Penguins, during which the Islanders went 0-for-7 on the powerplay and seemed to lack a certain offensive spark.
The Islanders have in the past given players extended time off for concussion issues - last season both Lubomir Visnovsky and Travis Hamonic were held out for long periods following head injuries - so there's no telling how long Grabovski will be out or the extent of his condition. And given Jack Capuano's familiarity with McDonald, the roster that took the ice in Pittsburgh could be the one the Islanders roll with for a while.
However long it takes, let's hope Grabovski returns to health quickly and completely and comes back packing his amazing sense of humor.