It’s easy to overlook this story.
After all, with “Deflategate” forcing impromptu press conferences and an impending storm shutting down the City That Never Sleeps, you have to forgive the local papers burring the Islanders loss of Kyle Okposo.
The Islanders leader in assists with 30 will miss the next eight weeks with an upper body injury, which is the first major setback for a team that is having a dream season. Now we are going to find out what kind of adversity these Isles can handle.
“I don’t say frustrating, I just say disappointing because that line was playing so well,” Isles coach Jack Capuano said to reporters. “You look at the last two or three games that they played and the amount of points that they put up. Now we’ll analyze it, figure out who’s going to play there (on the top line)…It’s unfortunate, but teams go through it and we’ve just got to battle through this one here and other guys have to step up.”
Losing Okposo to the beginning of the baseball season certainly hurts. His chemistry with John Tavares is unparalleled and Capuano will now look to fill in a winger on the top line. Does he plug someone in, hoping his all world center can play with anyone? Or does he juggle the lines, possibly putting a wrench into the well oiled machine we have seen over the past few months?
“The other three lines have played so well that you don’t want to break those guys up,” Capuano said. “I don’t want to over analyze it and think about it too much. We have some options that we can put up there.”
As of right now, Mikhail Grabovski will take Okposo’s spot, but this may be an area where Garth Snow will have to go out and make a trade for the stretch run.
Either way we are going to find out how the Islanders can handle adversity. As good of a story they have been over the first half, they are still an untested team that still needs to grow if they are going to play to late May or early June.
Injuries are obviously part of the game and outside of a few blips over the first few months, the Isles have been pretty fortunate. Now they will have to endure a life without Kyle for the next two months.
If the Islanders plan on leaving Long Island right before summer starts then they will have to get through this and stay relatively healthy the rest of the way.
It’s time to see if the Isles can endure.