Isles’ Mikhail Grabovski injured on thunderous check by Predators’ Eric Nystrom

Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski was knocked out of the game with what the team was calling an upper body injury – but what most of us recognized as a serious head injury. The Isles must take particular care with Grabovski, who’s suffered multiple concussions in his eight NHL seasons.

New York Islanders forward Mikhail Grabovski has a long history of head injuries over the course of his eight NHL seasons, and he had another incident to add to the list Thursday after absorbing a massive check from Nashville winger Eric Nystrom.

The Isles had a 1-0 lead approaching the midway point of the first period at Nassau Coliseum when Grabovski grabbed the puck deep in his own zone and took it to the top of the circle with his head down. That’s when Nystrom laid into him: (video via Somehockeyvideos)

The 31-year-old Grabovski lay motionless on the ice for a couple minutes before eventually skating off under his own power and heading to the dressing room. The Isles later announced he wouldn’t return to the game after suffering an upper-body injury (about as upper as you can get), but the question now is how long management and the organization’s medical staff keep him on the sidelines for. We know that concussions can have a delayed onset with some athletes, so if we’re really being safe and not sorry with someone who’s suffered significant head trauma before, why not sit him out for at least a week this time around?

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Besides, this isn’t even Grabovski’s first head injury of the current season. In October, Sharks behemoth John Scott levelled him: (video via TheStealthClobber)

And in Boston on February 15, 2011, Grabovski was drilled in the head twice by Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara: (video via HockeyArchive)

Grabovski indefensibly was allowed back into the game after both of Chara’s brutal hits four years ago, and we know times have changed at least to the degree any team that did the same today would be rightfully pilloried for it. At a time when the tragic effects of multiple concussions might very well be right in front of us, NHL teams should be insisting on caution to protect their players – as human beings first and on-ice assets second.