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3/22/14 Practice Updates

McDonald Practices on Top Line; Okposo's Status For Sunday In Question

Saturday, 03.22.2014 / 12:52 PM ET / News
By Greg Picker
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3\/22\/14 Practice Updates
The New York Islanders held practice Saturday afternoon at Islanders Iceworks in Syosset on the final day of preparation prior to Sunday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Sunday marks the final game of a four-game homestand, in which the Isles are currently 1-2-0. It's the first meeting at the Coliseum between the two new Metro Divison rivals since the Isles’ home opener on October 5.

Forward Kyle Okposo, who suffered a lower-body injury, earlier in the week did not practice today. Head coach Jack Capuano noted that Okposo still could be in the lineup Sunday afternoon at Nassau Coliseum.

“There's a chance that he could play,” Capuano told the media Saturday. “But we're obviously never going to put a player in the lineup if he's not capable of helping the team or put him in a position to hurt himself.”

Click here to watch Capuano's full interview.

With Okposo temporarily sidelined, Colin McDonald filled the void by donning a white first-line practice jersey. The second-year Islander skated along the right side of center Frans Nielsen and left wing Anders Lee.

With McDonald bumping up from the third line, rookie Johan Sundstrom slotted next to Ryan Strome and Matt Martin in an orange sweater. As a result, defenseman Radek Martinek wore the fourth-line jersey at Saturday’s skate.

Saturday’s Forward Lines:

Anders Lee - Brock Nielsen - Colin McDonald
Josh Bailey - Brock Nelson - Cal Clutterbuck
Matt Martin - Ryan Strome - Johan Sundstrom
Mike Halmo - Casey Cizikas - Radek Martinek

With nine rookies on the roster, each young player is well aware of the opportunity they have to prove themselves ready for the NHL. Anders Lee explained to reporters how he's approaching each game as a step towards proving he deserves a full-time spot in the NHL.

"You have to go out there every night and prove yourself," Lee said following practice. "As a young player coming up, I have to do that every night and take advantage of the opportunity."

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 51 38 9 4 166 114 80
2 FLA 52 31 15 6 143 115 68
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 52 28 18 6 151 137 62
6 NYI 51 27 18 6 143 127 60
7 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
8 PIT 51 26 18 7 132 130 59
9 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
10 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
11 MTL 54 26 24 4 143 143 56
12 PHI 51 23 19 9 121 133 55
13 OTT 53 24 23 6 148 165 54
14 BUF 53 21 26 6 120 139 48
15 TOR 51 19 23 9 117 140 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
K. Okposo 49 15 26 -7 41
J. Tavares 48 19 21 -4 40
F. Nielsen 51 15 18 0 33
B. Nelson 51 20 11 1 31
M. Grabovski 51 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 50 9 15 5 24
N. Leddy 51 3 20 -8 23
A. Lee 51 7 15 1 22
R. Strome 40 5 14 -6 19
C. Clutterbuck 50 11 4 6 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 11 4 .917 2.28
T. Greiss 14 6 2 .929 2.26
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