MINNEAPOLIS — The Islanders are here but Josh Ho-Sang is not. The 21-year-old forward was sent to Bridgeport before the team departed Long Island on Wednesday.
Ho-Sang had been a healthy scratch the past two games and with him being waiver-exempt, the move was made to get Ho-Sang playing time in an environment in which he thrived last season, earning a call-up to the big club for the final 21 games of 2016-17.
Doug Weight had nothing but praise for Ho-Sang and said the rookie took this demotion well.
“He did or he’s a damn good actor,” Weight said. “We’ve had great talks. It’s never easy, whether it’s a conversation about being scratched or something like this. It was lengthy, good, healthy and from what I take from it, he couldn’t be more excited to go down, prove to himself and the organization that this isn’t going to go on anymore, that we do need him and he’ll come back and help us here. I suspect the way he’s taken this he’ll be pushing to get back real quick. Nothing is negative about the relationship — people will read into it but there’s no failure in it.”
Ho-Sang clicked with Brock Nelson, posting four assists in the six games he played this season, with three of those assists on goals Nelson scored during the team’s California trip. But Ho-Sang was benched for the third period and overtime against the Rangers last week for overly long shifts and some structural deficiencies, then in street clothes for the last two wins.
The Islanders were also set to send Alan Quine, who hasn’t played this season after hand surgery, to Bridgeport on a conditioning assignment. That meant activating Quine off injured reserve, which necessitated another roster move or the Islanders putting Quine on waivers.
They chose to send Ho-Sang down. He had 10 goals and 26 assists in 50 games with the Sound Tigers last season and credited Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson with preparing him well for the NHL and the Isles system. Bridgeport plays twice this weekend.
“I don’t think we’re as good a team as we can be without Josh on the ice. He can make us better and there’s some areas he wants to address,” Weight said. “He wants to find out how to be better at those things. We’re all in a good place with this relationship, it’s on the right path. And we have the utmost respect for Brent and what he instills in his guys.”
Notes & quotes: Weight said Thomas Greiss will start in goal on Thursday against the Wild . . . The Isles only have 12 forwards on this two-game trip here and to Nashville, so any injuries up front would require a quick roster move.