This is no way to start the second half of a season.
Eagle-eyed observers noticed that Kyle Okposo wasn't included in today's practice lines. A little bit later, an update from Arthur Staple mentioned an injury to Okposo. Then the hammer:
Capuano: @bookerT2116 will be out 6-8 weeks with an upper-body injury. #Isles— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) January 26, 2015
It's not known how or when Okposo was hurt, and we'll have more information as it becomes available.
Obviously, this is not a positive for the Islanders. Okposo has been John Tavares' steady winger for three seasons now and the two have helped pace the team offensively this season. Okposo has 14 goals and 30 assists in 40 games this season. A week ago today, he was named the NHL's Third Star after scoring four goals against Pittsburgh in a pivotal division game last Friday, then adding another goal and assist the next night in Montreal.
Once again the depth brought in this summer will be tested, which has been the team's unofficial theme this season. As Okposo exits, Mikhail Grabovski returns from his own injury and was slotted (as of this morning) to the right of Tavares. There are chances that Anders Lee, Brock Nelson or Ryan Strome could find themselves playing alongside the captain, too. Two months is a long time for a top winger to be out and Jack Capuano isn't shy about changing his lines, even during games, so who knows who ends up where. The good news, if there is any, is that the injury replacements are pretty good in their own rights.
With games against the Rangers, Bruins and Red Wings this week (again, as of now), the Islanders can't afford too many losses or their lead in the conference could quickly slip. They're better prepared to weather the loss of Okposo than they have been in Kyle's career, but there's no time for wallowing.