We’re not in the habit of doing recaps of Bridgeport Sound Tigers games around here, but Friday night’s 3-2 shootout win over Syracuse was a bit unusual because of someone who didn’t play.
Joshua Ho-Sang was a healthy scratch for the game, with coach Brent Thompson concerned that the young winger was not playing THE RIGHT WAY or something. I’ll let ace Sound Tigers beatwriter Michael Fornabaio explain:
Kyle Burroughs appearing to be available (and in), and Andrew Rowe apparently in for Josh Ho-Sang to start.
“Josh is working hard. He’s continuing to work on his game, work on his habits,” Brent Thompson said. “For me, eliminating the swinging, even in practice, little habits. … Maybe he’ll have to watch a game from up top, learning.”
Edit, Friday noon: To clarify the jargony: “swinging” refers to skating, as opposed to a more straight-lines, “stops-and-starts” style.
Ho-Sang has one goal and five assists in 10 AHL games this season. Would the shifty-skating wing score more if he skated in straight lines? Is he coughing up the puck too much? Is he not shooting enough? Is he not engaging enough? Is the Mario Brothers’ last name Mario? What do their business cards say? Do they have business cards? Are they still in the plumbing business what with all of that turtle mashing and princess rescuing taking up a lot of time? What was I talking about again?
Oh, right. Ho-Sang. What I do know is that the benching, while perhaps minor in the grand scheme of things if not only its location, is the latest curious lineup decision that the Islanders organization has made this season.
Sure, Bridgeport won the game, but that’s kind of besides the point. The Islanders have won a handful of games, too. It doesn’t mean what they’re doing is working.
Ho-Sang is sat in Bridgeport because he’s “swinging” (and not in either the Benny Goodman 1940’s way or the Austin Powers 1960’s way). Mathew Barzal spends 11 games as a healthy scratch (and is eventually returned to junior) because he’s not capable of playing the wing, a position he doesn’t normally play anyway. Anthony Beauvillier plays a bunch of games in a row, some on the top line with John Tavares, and has now been a healthy scratch for three straight games because the coaches didn’t like his recent performances. The team is still carrying only six defensemen, which Jack Capuano himself isn’t happy about. Meanwhile, through all of this, extra goalie Jean-Francois Berube remains on the roster having not played a single minute in the NHL this season because... I don’t know anymore.
This is all confusing and a little tiring. Are any of these moves preventing the Islanders from transforming into Stanley Cup contenders? No. Are all of these players irrevocably ruined forever? Probably not. Do the moves collectively make an already trying season even harder to watch?
Ask me again Saturday night before they play the Panthers. I might decide to play Mario Kart 8 instead.