COLUMBUS, Ohio — Kyle Okposo’s 500th NHL game Tuesday night would have had to be some kind of game to top No. 499, when Okposo had a hat trick in Sunday’s 8-1 romp over the Oilers.
But he remembers lots of them, including No. 1, way back on Mar. 18, 2008. The then 19-year-old Okposo came up from Bridgeport the same year he left the University of Minnesota to finish out the NHL season, making his debut at Nassau Coliseum against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
“I remember Rob Davison scoring a shorthanded goal from next to our net,” Okposo said, recalling the blooper-reel goal from 180 feet away against Leafs goaltender Vesa Toskala in a 3-1 Isles loss. “I think you always remember your first.”
Okposo is the third of the current core of Islanders to reach 500 games, with Frans Nielsen passing the milestone last season and Josh Bailey passing it earlier this year. John Tavares is 19 games from 500.
“It’s cool to do that with those guys, the guys you came up with,” Okposo said.
Tortorella praises Capuano
Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella will have Isles coach Jack Capuano on the bench with him for Team USA at September’s World Cup, Capuano’s first such international event.
“We wanted to bring in some younger guys with some newer ideas,” Tortorella said. “I don’t know Jack well but I know his team. I love how aggressive they play, that’s the style that we want to play in the World Cup. In a small building, they come in after summertime and I just want the guys to pressure and get going.
“I think Jack has that type of personality from watching his teams. I’ve heard some great things about him, that he’s straightforward, sends the message and people understand it. That’s a huge, huge part of when you’re bringing a lot of different personalities in, that players understand their role, what the objective is. I’m really looking forward to working with him.”