The Eastern Conference-best New York Islanders defeated the Western Conference-best Nashville Predators 5-2 in a battle for NHL supremacy Thursday night, but it was a devastating hit that sent shockwaves through the hockey world.
About nine minutes into the first period, Islanders center Mikhail Grabovski put his head down as he attempted to advance the puck out of his defensive zone. Seeing an opportunity, Predators winger Eric Nystrom stepped up and LEVELED Grabovski.
Grabovski’s head hit the ice, and he lost consciousness.
The nature and severity of the injury prompted trainers to bring out a stretcher, but after lying on the ice for minutes, Grabovski was able to skate to the Islanders’ dressing room. He was ruled out of the game with an upper-body injury. After the game, Islanders coach Jack Capuano shared his thoughts on Grabovski’s status and Nystrom’s hit.
“I’m sure he’s going to be out for a while,” Capuano said, according to the New York Post. “[The] referee explained that he hit him through the middle of his body. Again, I’ll look at it. They have a tough job to do, the refs. It is what it is right now.”
Judging by the replay, it was a clean hit. Grabovski had possession of the puck, and Nystrom led with his shoulder and did not leave his feet. The NHL Department of Player Safety will have to determine whether or not Grabovski’s head was the main point of contact.
As of Friday morning, the Islanders confirmed that Grabovski suffered a concussion and placed him on injured reserve.
#Isles forward Mikhail Grabovski has also been placed on the team's IR list.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 20, 2015
This is not the first time that Grabovski has found himself on the wrong end of a monster hit this season.
During an Oct. 16 game against the San Jose Sharks, John Scott, the Sharks’ resident goon, blindsided Grabovski in the offensive zone. The hit was clean, but towering at 6 feet 8 inches tall and weighing 260 pounds, Scott is known throughout the league as a player who likes to throw his body around.
Grabovski suffered a concussion as a result of the hit and was placed on injured reserve for ten days.
Given his history of concussions, there is legitimate concern for Grabovski’s longterm health and ability to continue playing.
[h/t CBS Sports]