The New York Islanders announced Wednesday that forward Michael Grabner was diagnosed with a concussion.
Grabner left Monday’s 7-4 comeback win over Vancouver in the second period. There is no timetable set for the Austrian’s return.
“We’re decimated right now,” head coach Jack Capuano said. “All of our guys are going to get [more] minutes. We have back-to-back games and a lot of hockey coming up.”
Capuano also said he and General Manager Garth Snow had yet to talk about a potential call-up from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The Islanders currently have seven rookies on their roster including Bridgeport’s three top scorers: Ryan Strome, Anders Lee and Mike Halmo. The Islanders currently have 11 forwards.
Grabner’s injury creates a vacancy on the team’s top line with Kyle Okposo and Frans Nielsen. Lee filled in on the top line during the Islanders' third-period comeback – scoring a goal and an assist – and was wearing a white (first line) jersey at today’s practice.
“Anders Lee deserves an opportunity to move up on that line,” Capuano said. “He brings the element of a big body. Nielsen brings great intelligence and great hockey sense; Kyle is a power forward who gets pucks to the net and Lee gets to the net. It’s a good combination and he’s most likely is the guy who will play on that line.”
Lee has had a dream call-up since being recalled after the Olympic break, scoring seven points (five goals, two assists) in seven games. The Islanders rookie said it meant a lot to him that the coaches are giving him a chance on the top line.
“It’s a big opportunity,” Lee said. “There’s a lot asked of you when you play in a position like that. You have to be ready for it, work hard and try to do your best.”
Lines from Practice:Photos: Brian Strait catches his breath after a drill at Wednesday's practice. Anders Nilsson cleans his crease at Wednesday's practice. Matt Martin looks on after a drill at Wednesday's practice. Mike Halmo hustles during a drill at Wednesday's practice.