Kyle Okposo sits to make room for Nino Niederreiter

Nino Niederreiter #25 of the New York Islanders

Nino Niederreiter #25 of the New York Islanders controls the puck against the New York Rangers. (Nov. 15, 2011) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Kyle Okposo was a healthy scratch for the first time in his three-plus NHL seasons, pulled from the lineup so that Nino Niederreiter could make his season debut.

Niederreiter had some good moments, with a shot on goal and some sandpaper to his game.

"He showed me he has some poise with the puck," coach Jack Capuano said.

It has been a trying start for Okposo, who has no goals and three assists and was a minus-7 through 14 games -- his last goal was on March 22, a span of 22 games. The 2006 first-round pick was a fan favorite after posting 18 and 19 goals his first two full seasons.

The shoulder surgery that limited him to 38 games last season is still clearly affecting his play, which hasn't been physical enough or smooth offensively.

He began the season back on the line he had some success with during the second half of last season, alongside Frans Nielsen and Michael Grabner. But the previous four games Okposo had been with Blake Comeau and Marty Reasoner, and Okposo was a minus-5 with no points during that stretch.

Capuano also made one other lineup change, putting Milan Jurcina back in on defense and scratching Mark Eaton.

 

Koskinen loaned out

Goalie Mikko Koskinen, who was stuck at the back end of a three-goaltender rotation in Bridgeport, was loaned to KalPa in his native Finland for the remainder of the season.

Koskinen, the 31st overall pick in the 2009 draft, had wrist surgery during the summer and came to camp at the bottom of a crowded depth chart after playing 36 games in Bridgeport and four with the Islanders last season. He only played three games with the Sound Tigers this season.

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