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Players focused on season, trying not to dwell on vote

New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21)

New York Islanders right wing Kyle Okposo (21) celebrates with his teammates after scoring a goal during an NHL hockey game against the Atlanta Thrashers. (Feb. 1, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

The Islanders’ future remains uncertain after a bitter loss at the polls, but players are trying to focus on the upcoming season instead.

Following an overwhelming defeat of Monday’s referendum to build a new Coliseum, there is one thing they know that can help the organization more than a flashy arena:

Winning.

“Obviously, it’s disappointing,” said core forward Kyle Okposo, who signed a five-year deal with the Islanders in May. "It’s not the result we wanted but now we’re just looking forward to the season and proving we can take that next step.”

After four straight seasons without a post-season appearance, the ailing franchise desperately needs a playoff berth.

“It’s been said the past couple of years,” Okposo said. “Now it’s time to prove it. Talk is cheap.”

Matt Moulson said the hardest part about Monday’s verdict was to know team owner Charles Wang suffered yet another setback in his quest to keep the team on Long Island.

“I’m more frustrated for him and our fans,” Moulson said. “Personally, I know how much time and energy he invested in all of this…it’s tough to see something he wanted so badly to get overturned.”

Like Okposo, Moulson said the recent developments shouldn’t hamper the team’s preparation moving forward.

“As players, our goal has stayed the same,” the two-time 30-goal scorer said. “We’re very excited to get the season underway and keep that goal of getting into the playoffs. We have a lot to accomplish this year and we’re not going to really dwell on the vote and the outcome.”

Islanders general manager Garth Snow has long bemoaned his inability to attract top free agents because of the decaying building, but he offered no such gripe last night.

Before Okposo and Moulson weighed in on the failed vote, Snow shared his outlook just moments after Wang and Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano made their concession speeches:

"At the end of the day, training camp is just around the corner," Snow said. "We need to prepare ourselves to get into the playoffs and give our fans something to cheer about."

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