Islanders preseason talk: Okposo's injury and the power play
Some notes off of the Islanders' Barclays Center debut and where the Isles are heading into next week:
-- Kyle Okposo was pretty tight-lipped about taking Devils defenseman Jon Merrill's stick to Okposo's left eye on Saturday, but it was a very scary spot to get clipped. Okposo needed stitches just above the eye and it was swollen after the game, but he practiced on Sunday and seemed none the worse for it.
-- The Isles power play, which had some ups and downs last season, looked shaky on Saturday for a variety of reasons -- the main one being they haven't worked on it very much.
"We had about 20 minutes one day of working on it so far," John Tavares said. Tavares and other Isles also noted that the full, opening-night lineup hasn't been together for a game yet and that the Barclays Center ice wasn't exactly in game shape.
The power play is an area where the Islanders will miss Mark Streit most. Streit had 11 of his 27 points on the power play; his absence has Jack Capuano trying a variety of point men with the first unit, usually Lubomir Visnovsky with either Frans Nielsen or Pierre-Marc Bouchard.
"It's definitely a concern," Capuano said. "We have a few areas where we need to get better."
-- Griffin Reinhart did not play in Sunday's game in Nashville, but the 2012 first-round pick played in three of the first four preseason games and has made a very good impression.
"He's earned his chance to be out there," Capuano said. "There's a few of our young guys who have played well."
Reinhart's steadiness on defense has him legitimately in the mix for a role on opening night. He's still junior-eligible, so the Islanders can keep him with the club for up to nine NHL games before they decide whether to send him back to Edmonton of the Western League or keep him the entire season.
Reinhart is a different case than Nino Niederreiter, who stayed with the Isles as a 19-year-old two seasons ago and ended up disgruntled and traded to the Wild. But that recent history means Reinhart will have to show he can be a regular top-six contributor to stay beyond the first nine games.
-- After Sunday's game in Nashville, the Isles will divide up into NHL and AHL camps starting on Tuesday. Indications are only a few prospects will stay with the Islanders group; Reinhart and fellow defensemen Matt Donovan and Calvin de Haan are possibles to stay, along with forwards Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Ryan Strome. But it appears Capuano will have a group that only includes 15 forwards, nine or 10 defensemen and two or three goaltenders once Tuesday comes.