ST. LOUIS — Josh Ho-Sang got a call late Friday night, and by Saturday morning, he was on a plane to meet the Islanders here. The 21-year-old forward was sent to Bridgeport on Oct. 25 with no real timetable for a return, but there he was, back in the Isles’ lineup Saturday night thanks to a couple of injuries and a sudden need for offense.
“Got up at 5:30, flew, sat next to a nice old man who talked to me about his life in St. Louis,” Ho-Sang said before the game. “It was good. Got to the hotel, guys were really welcoming, now it’s time to play hockey.”
That he did. Ho-Sang scored his first goal of the season early in the second period Saturday night to extend the Islanders’ lead to 4-0 over the Blues.
Doug Weight wanted to see the talented Ho-Sang adopt more of a game-savvy mentality — knowing when to use his wondrous puck-handling skills and vision to try and create offense and when to cut it short, dump the puck in, go for a change and wait for his next chance to shine.
Oddly, Weight criticized his Islanders team for some of the same mistakes coming off Friday’s 5-0 loss in Dallas. He felt his team was trying to make a million individual plays instead of a few straightforward, team-oriented ones, and it cost the Isles dearly in their worst game of the season.
“Pretty interesting test, right? He’s coming up at a time when the team’s been struggling with some of the things he was struggling with,” Weight said. “We talked about it before. The kid’s got work ethic, he has talent and he has no fear. Those are three really good things. He’s got to put that consistency and that predictability in his game while using his talent as well.”
Weight was fuming Friday night and declined to do a postgame news conference after his rights holder-required chat with MSG Network, in which he wondered where his team’s heart was in the blowout.
“It’s tough doing interviews five minutes after . . . Short answers, smoke coming out of your ears,” Weight said. “It’s disappointing to come off a really good stretch with the way we’ve decided to manage the puck. You can be a skilled team, a team with the puck a lot, but you have to make it a little more predictable for your teammates, pursue pucks and do what Dallas did to us. It was a disappointing effort in that regard.”
With Anthony Beauvillier day-to-day after blocking consecutive shots with his right leg on Friday, Ho-Sang got a chance again after recording two goals and four assists in six games with Bridgeport.
He may have been disappointed by the demotion, but he didn’t show it. He’s up under emergency conditions, meaning he can stay for 30 days or 10 games, whichever comes first — but it can be converted to a regular recall at any time.
“It’s not necessarily the outcome of the plays I make, more how it can affect the momentum in the game,” Ho-Sang said. “I think I went down to Bridgeport and did my job for the most part, tried to take everything in stride.”