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Okposo: I know what I have to do to get back in lineup
Kyle Okposo acknowledged all the things that have been obvious to those around the Islanders this season: He's pressing and his confidence is not where it needs to be.
And that sitting out Tuesday's 4-2 loss to the Rangers was a low for him in his three-plus NHL seasons.
"I know what I have to do," Okposo said after the team's practice at the Coliseum today. The Islanders host the Canadiens on Thursday night. "There's a lot of things I have to do to get going."
He's watched all his shifts from this miserable season so far -- he's got no goals and three assists in 14 games -- as well as some tape from last season and the two seasons prior to his shoulder surgery.
"There's differences, sure," he said, without elaborating. "I've just got to go play. Everybody who understands hockey understands what I mean."
Jack Capuano said he and Okposo spoke on Tuesday and again today. There's no guarantees Okposo returns to the lineup, but Capuano did say it won't be as a center, ruling out the possibility of either Marty Reasoner or Josh Bailey sitting.
Okposo skated as a fourth forward on a line with Reasoner and Blake Comeau, splitting drills with Nino Niederreiter, who played in Okposo's spot on Tuesday.
"For me, I think (Okposo sitting) was a little bit of a relief. When you've got a guy who puts so much pressure on himself..." Capuano said. "Every player's different, everyone gets motivated differently."
As for the rest of the Isles, who dropped to 1-7-3 in their last 11 and have a tough schedule over the next 10 days, with six games against Eastern Conference opponents, Capuano said he told his team it's up to the guys in the room.
"Nobody feels sorry for us," he said. "I saw in August where all the experts picked us to finish, nobody gave us a lot of respect. We have to earn that respect."