Grabner injury casts cloud over Isles' trip to Sunshine State
by Christian Arnold/Correspondent
SYOSSET, N.Y. – The Islanders lost a big offensive weapon as they get ready for their two-game Florida road trip. The team announced Tuesday morning that Michael Grabner will miss the next seven to 10 days due to a shoulder injury.
The injury limited Grabners’ ice time in Sunday’s 6-1 loss to Pittsburgh, but Islanders coach Jack Capuano wasn’t exactly sure when the injury occurred.
“It could have been a situation prior to that, but I think he felt it in the Pittsburgh game,” Capuano said after Tuesday’s practice at Islanders Ice Works. “Obviously you don’t know exactly when. Guys play hard, you don’t know when it happens, but it was late in the game when he felt it.”
Grabner will be reevaluated next week and team general manager Garth Snow made the trip up to Bridgeport, Conn., to scout the Sound Tigers’ game Tuesday night.
There are several options for the Isles down there, including the option of calling up Nino Niederreiter, but it is unclear what the team will do.
What is clear is how tough it is to lose Grabner at this juncture in the season. The Austrian winger is one of the Isles best penalty killers and is a player who creates numerous chances throughout a game.
Grabner has scored three goals in his last five games.
“It’s going to be difficult, especially (since) he’s our top penalty killer with Frans Nielsen,” Capuano said about the impact it has on the team. “It takes a big chunk out of our lineup, but it gives other opportunities for guys to get in there and play well.”
Joensuu, Carkner back on the ice
The Islanders did get two players back on the ice today. Both Matt Carkner (lower body injury) and Jesse Joensuu (sports hernia) were on the ice at Ice Works practicing with the team.
This was Carkner’s first practice since he suffered the injury back on Feb. 7. Joensuu was practicing with the team for the first time all season.
“He had a good day today,” Capuano said regarding Joensuu’s first practice. “Obviously he’s been skating on his own. Today was the first day that he had a full practice. I liked what I saw.”
Capuano was not sure if either player would make the trip, which the Islanders leave for Wednesday.
“We’ll talk about that today and see where we are with our numbers,” he said, “and talk to our trainers and see how the health is for those guys. See how they feel after practice."
TV ratings up
The Isles are seeing a spike in TV ratings this season. In fact, they saw a 124 percent bump in ratings, according to Newsday’s media reporter Neil Best.
In a tweet, Best wrote that the Isles had a season average of 0.21 percent of New York area viewers. That number has now jumped to an average of 0.47 percent this season.