The New York Islanders placed Mikhail Grabovski on injured reserve after suffering what appeared to be a concussion on an Eric Nystrom hit in last night's 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators.
In his place, another one of those feel-good stories: Kael Mouillierat has been recalled on emergency conditions from AHL Bridgeport for what will be his NHL debut at age 27. An Edmonton native and four-year Minnesota State-Mankato product, Mouillierat's pro journey has included multiple seasons in the ECHL and three different AHL teams including two separate stops with the Sound Tigers.
Here was Bridgeport beatwriter Michael Fornabaio's initial report when the Isles signed Mouillierat to a to-oway contract last summer:
No secret that he was well-respected here. When the Islanders didn’t bring him back, he found a home in St. John’s and thrived. He can be a solid piece here and maybe take a run at an NHL job along the way.
Mouillierat leads the Sound Tigers in goals (18) and points (40) this season through 51 games. His previous AHL stops include the Dallas Stars affiliate in Texas and the Winnipeg Jets affiliate in St. John's. (In discussion at this site, he has been known as "Mallrat" and/or "copy/paste.")
The Islanders injuries and IR placements this season have been mostly spread out in a way that hasn't required callups from Bridgeport. At forward, Anders Lee (who started the season there but was destined to return and remain on Long Island), Colin McDonald (who was the numbers victim of Lee's success) have been the first recalls, while Harry Zolnierczyk got a cup of coffee for his third NHL uniform.
But the Isles do have a history of "keeping them hungry" down in Bridgeport and rewarding good soldiers with opportunities like this. The Islanders have a back-to-back this weekend, with a big divisional tilt Saturday afternoon in Washington followed by a Sunday night game with the Canucks in front of Nassau Coliseum fans.
If Mouillierat gets in both games, it should be a rich NHL debut that makes the journey from Idaho to Newfoundland and beyond worthwhile.
UPDATE: Here is video and reaction from Mouillierat and his Bridgeport (and likely Isles) linemate Colin McDonald:
Capuano: "When the phone rings down there, you gotta be the best guy. And he was the best guy."