Sebastian Aho is a quick study, anywhere and any time. He learned on the fly as an emergency call-up, learned just by watching during the past week and learned enough to find his way back into the lineup. He played in place of Dennis Seidenberg.
“I enjoy every day that I’m up here,” said the 21-year-old defenseman, who was promoted from Bridgeport on Dec. 28. “It was pretty hectic in the beginning. I didn’t know if I was going to be up for one day, two days.”
The Islanders have kept him around, even when they did not play him. He used two healthy scratches last week as a sort of reading period, getting perspective from the suite level. “I like to watch Hicks and Leddy,” Aho said, referring to Thomas Hickey and Nick Leddy, “because they’re not the biggest D but they seem to always win their battles. That’s something you can learn from.”
Said Doug Weight, “He’s just a mature kid, savvy on the ice. . . Right now, we need him on the ice. He has warranted that.”
Aho had greater responsibility Monday night after Scott Mayfield left in the first period after blocking a shot with his leg. Mayfield did not return.
Aho’s biggest adjustment has been living in a hotel. “Not being able to cook my own food or anything like that,’’ he said, “but we’re being taken good care of.”
Weight said “the best case” for Johnny Boychuk’s return from a lower-body injury is later this week, but there is no indication that will happen.
Laviolette has Weight
It is no coincidence that Islanders practices probably are much like those of the Predators. Weight acknowledged that he patterned workouts after those of Nashville coach Peter Laviolette, for whom Weight played on the 2006 Stanley Cup champion Hurricanes. “His practices, they’re quick, they have purpose to them,” Weight said.
Laviolette, having coached the Predators to the Cup Final last season, has fulfilled at least some of the expectations placed on him before he debuted as the Islanders’ coach in 2001. There had been so many comparisons to a familiar coach that, during his introductory news conference, Laviolette joked, “Who’s this Al Arbour guy everybody is talking about?”