TORONTO -- Michael Grabner says he felt this move coming on.
Grabner will be a healthy scratch on Tuesday night here against the Leafs, the first time he’s missed a game without an injury or the impending birth of his son since Oct. 9, 2010, shortly after he was claimed off waivers from the Panthers.
“Everybody knows what my role is and I haven’t scored a point in 12 games,” Grabner said after skating extra on Tuesday morning with fellow scratches Thomas Vanek (upper body) and Radek Martinek. “I knew (getting scratched) wasn’t too far off.”
Grabner scored two goals and added an assist on opening night of this season, then had three assists in a 6-1 win over Phoenix in the third game. Since then, he has just two points, both assists, and has simply been drifting too much for Jack Capuano’s liking.
“We have some guys in our top six we need to get going,” Capuano said. He didn’t name names, but he was clearly referring to Grabner and Josh Bailey, the latter of whom has been stuck on four goals for 11 games now.
Bailey will start on Tuesday night with Frans Nielsen and Colin McDonald. Eric Boulton draws in for Grabner and will start with Casey Cizikas and Matt Martin. Those lines will surely be shuffled when/if Boulton drops the gloves with either Colton Orr or Frazer McLaren, both of whom are in the Leafs lineup on Tuesday.
Kevin Poulin gets the start in goal, opposed by Toronto’s Jonathan Bernier.
Vanek said he’s close, but the Isles want to make sure his pain is completely gone, so he’ll be held out for a fifth game with a return on Friday in Pittsburgh most likely.
Also on the injury front, Lubomir Visnovsky (concussion) is with the team on this road trip but Capuano cautioned that “he’s not very close” to returning. Visnovsky did some mild off-ice work on Tuesday as he begins his road back from missing more than a month.