Islanders lose Okposo to a shoulder injury

Islanders winger Kyle Okposo in a 2009 game. Islanders winger Kyle Okposo in a 2009 game. Photo Credit: AP, 2009

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Three days after top defenseman Mark Streit suffered a left shoulder injury that will likely sideline him for six months, the Islanders announced Tuesday that forward Kyle Okposo is out indefinitely with an injured right shoulder that requires surgery.

According to a source, Okposo suffered a torn labrum and is expected to miss two to three months.

Okposo, who recently visited a shoulder specialist, has not practiced since suffering the injury Thursday. It is believed the injury occurred when Okposo extended his arm to reach back for a puck during the team's intrasquad special-teams scrimmage.

Like Streit, Okposo will seek a second opinion with shoulder specialist Dr. Anthony Miniaci of the Cleveland Clinic before deciding on surgery.

"Kyle has a big role on our team and whenever you're in a situation where you lose a player like Kyle, it's going to have an effect on the team," general manager Garth Snow said. "That being said, this is an opportunity for younger players to step in and play a bigger role, much like with Mark."

With both Okposo and Streit slated to miss significant time, the Islanders have seen two of their best players fall to injury even before they play their first preseason game.

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"Make no mistake about it, they are big losses," Snow said. "On the flip side, if we can get out to a good start and play as a team and accumulate points through the first half of the season, it's going to be a big bonus for our club when Kyle and Mark do come back at some point."

Okposo, who had 19 goals and 33 assists in 80 games last season, finished second on the team in scoring behind rookie John Tavares and led the Islanders' forwards in ice time. Along with Streit, Okposo was also one of the team's four alternate captains last season.

Despite the monumental blows the Islanders have suffered this week, Snow said the team's goal remains the same.

"For us, it doesn't change our mind-set," Snow said. "We need to go out and win hockey games. This is a great opportunity for other players to win ice time."

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Mottau signed. The Islanders signed 32-year-old defenseman Mike Mottau to a two-year, one-way deal worth $1.6 million. Mottau, who played the past three seasons with the Devils, had two goals and 16 assists for New Jersey last season. "Mike was a player we had interest in back in July," Snow said. "We think very highly of Mike. He's a good puck mover, he has a physical element to his game and is a solid all-around defenseman."

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