Islanders morning skate notes:
Thomas Hickey, on getting acclimated to being an NHL regular:
"From how I felt in the first couple of games, to how I feel now past the midway point of the season - it's much different. I'm much more comfortable out there. I'm playing a lot better. But at the same time, it's hard. Players are good up here, and you've got to be ready every single shift. It's been an adjustment but I feel like it's going the right way."
Hickey has certainly benefited from being paired with Lubomir Visnovsky and from getting a healthy dose of offensive zone starts, but his possession numbers are good. He's proved to be a good find so far. His ice time has gone up accordingly too, from nine to 12 minutes per game early in the season to nights of 16 to 19 minutes through most of the last nine games.
He's good at moving the puck, and the puck goes the right direction when he's on the ice. By ice time, it appears the Islanders have noticed.
Kyle Okposo, on defending against other teams' top lines while also being counted on to produce offensively:
"You just have to be responsible defensively. I've been playing on a line with Frans (Nielsen) off-and-on for three years, so it's not really anything new. He's such a smart player down low, so it makes Josh (Bailey's) and my job easier. We have to keep talking it out and play from the defensive zone out."
Something was made of Jack Capuano talking to that line about a defensive role, as reported in Newsday recently. Maybe that refocused the trio, or at least the wingers, but it's true that this is nothing new for Okposo, who has split the last two seasons with periods either on the top offensive-heavy line and the Nielsen line.
"I'm Mike Bossy."
Not his words exactly, but it's worth remembering that Mike Bossy was Mike Bossy before Keith Hernandez was "I'm Keith Hernandez." Fun write-up in the Sports Business Journal:
"Let’s just be completely honest -- I am who I am and I did what I did. That will always stay with me. From that perspective, of course it’s helped me in the last six years. Although, as I tell a lot of people who think that everybody answers my phone calls and takes meetings with me, that’s absolutely false."
Still though. Like you wouldn't take a call from Mike Bossy? Anyway, that article goes into his thoughts on Brooklyn as well.
College Signing Attempts: Lee, Sustr?
Two notes from Arthur Staple, who had an extensive chat at Newsday today and continued it on Twitter:
#Isles are in the mix for college FA D Andrej Sustr, according to source. 6-foot-8 Dman may make decision in next day or two.
Several teams, including the usual suspects, reportedly chasing him though. UPDATE: Aaaand done. The towering Czech signs with Tampa Bay.
And this, the most confident assertion we've ever seen on Notre Dame junior and Isles draft pick Anders Lee:
@dannymigliorisi whenever ND's season ends, he'll sign.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) March 21, 2013
That'd be cool.