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Matt Donovan gets back into Islanders' lineup

Matt Donovan celebrates after scoring a goal in

Matt Donovan celebrates after scoring a goal in the second period of a game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Nassau Coliseum. (Oct. 8, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

VANCOUVER, B.C. -- After sitting out the last eight games, defenseman Matt Donovan got back into the lineup in place of Lubo Visnovsky (upper body), just the ninth game out of 40 this season for the fully healthy Donovan.

"It's always a pleasant surprise when they tell you you're in," said Donovan, who got the call over Brian Strait among the recent healthy scratches on defense. "It stinks for Lubo, but I'll just try to do what I can with the opportunity, same as always."

Donovan had three assists and was a plus-5 in his eight games, the last of which was against the Devils on Dec. 15.

This is Visnovsky's third stint on injured reserve, having missed the first six games of the season with back spasms and then four games in early December with a shoulder injury.

Grabovski's Leaf thoughts

Mikhail Grabovski was sincere in expressing his thoughts about his old Toronto Maple Leafs team firing Randy Carlyle, for whom Grabovski played one unhappy season before being bought out of a five-year, $27.5-million contract.

"Good luck to Randy in his next job, good luck to the players," Grabovski said. "I learned a lot from him, good and bad . . . Toronto is a hard place, there are a lot of different opinions about how to coach the team, how the players should play. The mistake they made is we had a good team when we made the playoffs [in 2012-13] and they change it."

Grabovski expressed very different thoughts about Carlyle after his buyout, calling his former coach "an idiot" in the summer of 2013. Now, two teams later, Grabovski seems to be over it all.

"I'm here right now, so I don't really care what's going on there," he said.

J.P. Parise doing poorly

Zach Parise was scratched from the Wild lineup Tuesday night to be with his ailing father, early Islanders hero J.P., who is battling late-stage lung cancer and has declined further treatment, according to reports.

The elder Parise scored in overtime to eliminate the Rangers in the first round of the 1975 playoffs, putting the Islanders on the map in just their third season.


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