NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — He has all the skill in the world, but for whatever reason can’t score.
Now, Michael Grabner is going to sit for a while and think about it.
The Islanders named the talented right wing a healthy scratch for Tuesday night’s game in Toronto.
Grabner, who scored 34 goals back in 2010-11, has not scored in his last 18 games — not counting a two-game league-issued suspension her served — since registering two goals and an assist in the season opener. He hasn’t registered a point and is minus-5 over his last 12 contests. The Islanders are 4-8 in that span.
He told Newsday following Tuesday’s morning skate that he saw the scratch coming.
“Everybody knows what my role is and I haven’t scored a point in 12 games,” Grabner said after taking the ice with fellow scratches Thomas Vanek (upper body) and Radek Martinek. “I knew (getting scratched) wasn’t too far off.”
A lot is made of Grabner’s raw ability. He’s considered among the fastest skaters in the NHL and a good two-way player as a result. But he’s also known for pulling disappearing acts on offense. His repeated failures on breakaways and odd-man rushes have been a major bone of contention among fans.
“We have some guys in our top six we need to get going,” head coach Jack Capuano said, referring to Grabner and likely Josh Bailey, who, despite getting the long-term extension he craved during the offseason, has just four goals this season.
Bailey was to play alongside Frans Nielsen and Colin McDonald, while tough guy Eric Boulton was to be inserted on a line with Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin on Tuesday night, Newsday reported.
Vanek, who will miss his fifth straight game when the Isles take on the Maple Leafs, may return Friday in Pittsburgh, the newspaper reported.
The Islanders have won two of three since losing all four games on their last road trip.
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