COLUMBUS, OHIO — Josh Ho-Sang will miss Friday’s season-opening game for the Islanders. He’s not happy about it, but he’s not sulking either.
“What’s allowing me to deal with this is I trust Dougie (Weight) a lot. I trust him. He’s my coach,” Ho-Sang told Newsday after he spent nearly an hour on the ice Friday morning doing conditioning work. “He has the best intentions for this team. I know what he wants to achieve this year. If at this point in time he thinks this is the group he needs, then I trust him. That’s the mentality we’ve been preaching.”
For his part, Weight doesn’t view Ho-Sang’s healthy scratch as a punishment. The coach saw a few old habits leak into preseason games — he wants Ho-Sang to have a little more awareness of time-of-game and time-of-shift moments — but not much else, which is why Weight and his coaching staff needed until Thursday afternoon to decide on Jason Chimera playing and Ho-Sang sitting, as well as Adam Pelech playing on defense and Scott Mayfield and Ryan Pulock sitting out.
“He’s a good kid. He’s fearless, he’s got speed, he’s got skill. I want him to watch the game tonight, that’s it,” Weight said. “I want him to watch the situational plays. He gets excited to play the game. And I am not taking that away from him. He’s earned his spot on this team and he will be playing sooner rather than later. And he will be a big part of our success. There’s nothing to read too much into it, I’m not just going with the veterans. This is just the way it is.”
With three games in 3½ days to start the season — the Isles face the Sabres in Brooklyn on Saturday night and the Blues there on Monday afternoon — nothing is set for even the immediate future beyond Friday night. Thomas Greiss and Jaroslav Halak will split goaltending duties these first two games as well.
Ho-Sang admitted to some mixed emotions over the whole thing.
“I still believe in my core values, in what I can do, how I can help this team. I believe I can make a difference every night,” he said. “But as of right now, I’ve just got to trust my coaches. It’s like when your parents or your boss tells you, ‘We’re going to do this for your betterment, the betterment of the company.’ You’ve got to have that blind faith and it can be difficult at times.
“By no means am I happy about it. But the one thing I am happy about is we have a group of guys that came in today full of smiles and I was one of them. We’re all here together. If I maintain a positive attitude, a positive outlook, when there’s other guys who potentially get subbed out for me, they come with the same attitude. That’s what makes a great team.
“In the large scheme of things it’s one game. More than anything I want us to win tonight and go from there. It’s a long year. A lot can happen. I just know that when I get my chance they’re not going to be able to take me out.”