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Ready To Go

Okposo took part in informal skate with teammates on Tuesday

Tuesday, 01.8.2013 / 4:46 PM ET / News
By Travis Betts
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Ready To Go
Okposo finished the 2011-12 regular season with nine goals in his last nine games (Photo: Getty Images)

Kyle Okposo is finally where he wants to be.

With uncertainty surrounding the start of the 2012-13 regular season, the five-year veteran stayed close to home in St. Paul, MN during the work stoppage, working out regularly at his alma mater, the University of Minnesota. The whole time, he remained optimistic and ready to return to Long Island for the start of Islanders Training Camp.

“It’s been a long four months,” Okposo said. “I’ve been skating a lot – usually four times a week. I’ve been working out 3-4 times a week too. We didn’t know everything that was going on, so we couldn’t judge when to go hard, when to take it down a notch, but we just tried to stay ready.”

Joining him for skates and workout sessions were several members of the Minnesota Wild, as well as several other NHLers, including Alex Goligoski, Dustin Byfuglien, James Van Riemsdyk and Colin Wilson. The group usually consisted of 20-30 NHL players. When they couldn’t work out at the school, they rented ice at one of the local rinks.

Okposo said the group went through some tough workouts, but that the more difficult challenge was not knowing when they would be able to return to work.

“That was the toughest thing,” Okposo said. “Your hopes would get up and then would get crushed, and it was just a vicious cycle, up and down. After December, I just tried to stay level and tried not to obsess over it. But it was tough not to look and see what was going on. You just had to try and keep somewhat of a routine.”

The 24-year-old said there was one silver lining to having time away from the rigorous schedule to which NHL players are accustomed.

“I took advantage of the opportunity to have fun with family and friends,” Okposo said. “It’s been nice to spend some time at home. I had a couple of holidays there, which hasn’t happened in a long time. That part of it was different, but it was nice. That being said, I was itching to get back and get playing.”

Okposo had the itch to rejoin his Islanders teammates on the ice so badly, that when he heard the news on Sunday that an agreement had been reached between the NHL and the Players Association, he wasted no time getting to New York. He joined a growing group of Islanders players trickling back to Long Island on Tuesday for an informal skate at Iceworks in preparation for Training Camp

“I got the news, packed my bag and hopped on a plane. My wife is driving the car out later this week.”

He arrived at Iceworks in time to watch the end of Monday’s informal skate. He was the first on the ice Tuesday, ahead of Matt Moulson, Matt Martin, Eric Boulton, Matt Carkner, Marty Reasoner, Rick DiPietro and free agent Radek Martinek. Andrew MacDonald and Frans Nielsen also arrived on Long Island Tuesday and are expected to join in Wednesday’s skate.

The group will continue informal practices to prepare for Training Camp, which is expected to start in the next week.

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EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 53 40 9 4 175 120 84
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
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5 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
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15 BUF 55 21 28 6 125 151 48
16 TOR 53 19 25 9 122 149 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 50 20 23 -2 43
K. Okposo 51 15 28 -9 43
F. Nielsen 53 15 19 -1 34
B. Nelson 53 20 11 -1 31
M. Grabovski 53 9 16 3 25
A. Lee 53 9 15 0 24
J. Bailey 52 9 15 4 24
N. Leddy 53 3 21 -7 24
R. Strome 42 6 15 -4 21
C. Cizikas 53 5 12 5 17
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 13 11 4 .918 2.27
T. Greiss 15 6 2 .929 2.24
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