Okposo says he's feeling better
SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Kyle Okposo, who suffered a mild concussion in Thursday's preseason game against Calgary, attended the Islanders' 4-2 victory over the Flames here last night and said he was feeling better.
Okposo, who was carted off the ice on a stretcher after a brutal open-ice hit from Flames defenseman Dion Phaneuf, said he is essentially symptom-free but likely will rest for a few more days before attempting any type of light activity.
Okposo said he does not remember the hit; the first memory he has after the incident is staring at the ceiling while being carted off the ice. He has seen the replay but did not want to discuss whether he thinks the hit was clean.
"I don't want to get into whether it was dirty or not,'' Okposo said. "It's part of the game and it's an unfortunate situation.''
Matt Martin had two goals for the Islanders and Greg Moore and Jon Sim also scored last night. There was speculation before the game that there could be repercussions from Phaneuf's hit, but nothing atypical occurred to suggest the Islanders were looking to exact revenge. There were two fights, but nothing that resembled Thursday night's heated scuffle.
"I think that is dictated by the players," Islanders coach Scott Gordon said before the game. He said he didn't feel the need to specifically address the retaliation issue. He just made sure his team knew the general objective. "At the end of the day, we want our players to stick up for one another," he said. "We do have to go out there and play a hockey game. We want to play hard and finish our checks, but we definitely don't want anyone to get hurt."
Phaneuf, who defended his hit as clean, did not make the trip, which removed the temptation for the Isles to retaliate against the player responsible for the injury.
Flames defenseman Cory Sarich had said that with so many players trying to crack lineups and compete for roster spots, he anticipated a physical game.
Although he said he wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of guys "looking to make a statement and try to earn a spot as the tough guy on the team," the Flames' lineup was a stark departure from Thursday's game, when they dressed some of their best and most experienced players.
"A lot of times when you have your top guys in the lineup, someone might key in on one of them and try to do something silly,'' Sarich said, "but a lot of the guys out here [last night] are trying to gain experience."
Notes & quotes: John Tavares, who has played in only one of the first four games this preseason, did not play last night. He will play tonight, however, and likely will play in the last two games of the preseason against New Jersey . . . Doug Weight (groin) skated yesterday at the separate rink where rehabbing goaltender Rick DiPietro practices. Sean Bergenheim (groin) has not skated since suffering his groin strain Wednesday.