Josh Ho-Sang was at Northwell Health Ice Center in East Meadow on Saturday but did not skate with his group during the second day of the Islanders’ training camp.
Coach Barry Trotz described it simply as a “personal day,” and there may be nothing more to it than that. But, with the mercurial left wing, things aren’t often so simple.
“It’s just a personal day,” Trotz said. “We keep everything in-house so we expect him on the ice tomorrow.”
Pressed whether he had a raised level of concern over Ho-Sang’s absence, Trotz said, “No, not at all. We’ll see where it is tomorrow.”
Ho-Sang, 22, is a dynamic offensive talent and has six goals and 16 assists in 43 career NHL games. But he’s been a lightning rod for attention since being selected 28th overall in 2014. In 2015, Ho-Sang was immediately returned to his junior hockey club after oversleeping and showing up late on the first day of training camp.
He also made some critical comments toward the end of last season regarding how the Islanders had handled his development. But during last week’s rookie camp Ho-Sang showed an increased attention to his defensive game and an upbeat attitude about working with the Islanders’ new management team.
Ho-Sang attended both the Islanders summer development camp as well as the rookie camp that preceded Friday’s opening of training camp. The Islanders muted Ho-Sang in the summer, not making him available for interviews.
But Ho-Sang enthusiastically spoke about having a “clean slate” with the organization, now led by president and general manager Lou Lamoriello as well as Trotz, during rookie camp.
“I’m happy to get a fresh start,” Ho-Sang said on Sept. 7. “I think everyone needed it.”
This season is the last on Ho-Sang’s three-year, $3.4-million entry-level deal, making it a crucial one to determine his long-term future with the Islanders.
Second-rounder Bode Wilde returned to practice on Saturday after missing the first day of training camp. The defenseman was kept off the ice after blocking a shot in Wednesday’s 6-3 loss to the Flyers in the rookie game.