When Arthur Staple first reported that Kyle Okposo was the only Islander not at practice today at Gila River Arena, visions of injuries, trades, a matinee showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens or maybe a round of golf with Alice Cooper all no doubt materialized in fans' minds.
Turns out it's Option 1, with Jack Capuano saying after practice that the Islanders' top winger will be sitting a couple of games with an injury.
Capuano: Okposo (lower) out next two games. "Something nagging and we're gonna rest him here." #Isles— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 18, 2015
Lee-Tavares-Bailey, Nelson-Nielsen-Strome, Kulemin-Grabovski-Bernier will be lines tomorrow.— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 18, 2015
Okposo has eight goals and 18 assists this season, playing in his primary position on John Tavares' right side. He hasn't missed any time since coming back from his scary eye injury last season.
Steve Bernier, slotted into the open spot in the lineup, has a goal and two assists in 13 games this season and has looked very much like Steve Bernier - an okay bottom of the roster guy with decent instincts and hands you wish were just a little softer.
Okposo said his injury has been bothering him for a little while. Hopeful 9 days off will help it. "I don't want it to linger all year."— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) December 18, 2015
The Islanders play the Coyotes (14-15-2) tomorrow night before returning to Barclays Center on Monday for a game against the Ducks (11-14-15). The team then goes into its extended Christmas break before a home game on December 27th against Toronto.
It's not the worst place for Kyle to get some rest for whatever ails him. But after two straight bizarre defeats - a 5-1 loss to Florida in which they outpossessed the Panthers and 2-1 loss to the Avalanche on a late deflection off of Mikhail Grabovski's foot - the Islanders could use an emphatic win or two going into the holidays.
Not having Okposo in the lineup isn't ideal. For the Islanders to manage without him, some long-standing goal-scoring slumps (Anders Lee: 12 games, Nikolay Kulemin: 27 games, Nick Leddy: All Season) are going to need to get busted sooner rather than later.