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Okposo anticipating his return Sunday

Islanders forward missed practices this week after suffering an eye injury last Saturday

Saturday, 09.28.2013 / 6:44 PM / News
By Travis Betts
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Okposo anticipating his return Sunday
Islanders forward missed practices this week after suffering an eye injury last Saturday

The Islanders will get one of their key pieces back in time for Sunday’s preseason finale(s) against the Ottawa Senators.

Kyle Okposo, who missed Friday’s tilt against the Nashville Predators and was absent during most of this week’s practices after taking an errant stick to the eye last Saturday against the New Jersey Devils, was skating with the team today at Nassau Coliseum. The 25-year-old is excited about returning to the lineup for one of Sunday’s split-squad games.

“I’m feeling good and I’m happy to be back practicing,” Okposo said. “I’m going to go out there and work on getting the timing back. I haven’t seen game action in a week, and I didn’t practice for a couple of days. I lost a little bit of that timing, but I’m sure I’ll be alright tomorrow.”

Islanders Head Coach Jack Capuano has indicated that Okposo may see time on a line with Matt Moulson and John Tavares. Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Josh Bailey have taken turns on Tavares’ right side, and Capuano wants to use Sunday’s contest to make the best decision for his opening night lines.

Whatever line Okposo is on Sunday, defenseman Andrew MacDonald says the seventh-year winger’s presence will make the team better in a number of areas.

“Kyle’s been around here for a while,” MacDonald said. “He brings some good leadership and he has the ability on the ice to make plays. His strong body and his work ethic dictates a lot of the play out there.”

Bailey, who played on a line with Okposo throughout most of last season, said it was good to see his teammate out on the ice at Saturday’s practice.

“He’s such a talented player and good leader for us,” Bailey said. “He really brings a lot to the table every day for us. Whether it’s the power play, penalty kill, all situations, he’s always working hard. It’s good to have him back.”

If there is ever a good time for an injury, perhaps Saturday night at Barclays Center was it. The team had five days between games, and the regular season was 13 days away at that point. The final preseason tune-up should give everyone, Okposo included, an idea of how much work needs to be done in order to get ready for the October 4 season opener in New Jersey and then the home opener the following night.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 PIT 30 20 6 4 98 71 44
2 TBL 33 20 10 3 110 87 43
3 NYI 31 21 10 0 99 89 42
4 MTL 32 20 10 2 87 80 42
5 DET 32 17 7 8 92 80 42
6 TOR 31 19 9 3 109 87 41
7 BOS 32 16 13 3 81 83 35
8 NYR 29 15 10 4 89 79 34
9 FLA 29 13 8 8 66 75 34
10 WSH 30 14 10 6 86 81 34
11 OTT 31 13 12 6 82 86 32
12 CBJ 30 13 15 2 72 95 28
13 BUF 32 13 17 2 62 100 28
14 NJD 33 11 16 6 74 96 28
15 PHI 30 11 14 5 80 90 27
16 CAR 30 8 19 3 62 87 19

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 31 12 15 -5 27
K. Okposo 31 7 20 -3 27
B. Nelson 31 13 11 4 24
R. Strome 31 6 15 10 21
F. Nielsen 31 6 11 0 17
N. Leddy 31 5 10 7 15
J. Boychuk 21 2 12 7 14
M. Grabovski 28 5 7 4 12
N. Kulemin 31 5 7 -3 12
T. Hickey 30 2 9 1 11
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 16 6 0 .917 2.35
C. Johnson 5 4 0 .868 3.59

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