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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 49 36 9 4 161 110 76
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
4 NYR 51 28 18 5 146 132 61
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 NYI 49 26 17 6 134 121 58
7 DET 51 25 18 8 125 130 58
8 NJD 52 26 20 6 117 118 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 49 23 18 8 117 128 54
12 MTL 52 24 24 4 137 141 52
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Tavares 46 17 19 -4 36
K. Okposo 47 12 24 -9 36
B. Nelson 49 20 11 1 31
F. Nielsen 49 15 16 -2 31
M. Grabovski 49 9 15 2 24
J. Bailey 48 8 15 5 23
A. Lee 49 7 14 1 21
N. Leddy 49 3 16 -12 19
R. Strome 38 5 13 -6 18
N. Kulemin 49 5 9 6 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
J. Halak 12 10 4 .921 2.18
T. Greiss 13 6 2 .927 2.32
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