Monday, December 20th brought some good news and bad news for the New York Islanders.
The bad news is that the NHL suspended Matthew Martin for two games for a hit he delivered on Phoenix Coyotes forward Vernon Fiddler during the first period of Saturday’s game. It’s not a huge loss for the Isles, though, as he’s a borderline NHL player to begin with. He only has two points (on two goals) in 22 games so far this season, with a -11 rating.
The good news could be a lot bigger than two losing a marginal player for two games. The team reports that Kyle Okposo practiced in full gear for the first time this season.
Of course, practicing and actually playing are two very different things in the NHL. Upon his late September injury, it was estimated that his return would take six months, so even a January or February return would be way ahead of schedule.
You could say that the Okposo and Mark Streit injuries doomed what was already a far from promising 2010-11 season for the Islanders, so surely the team would love to get their budding power forward back sometime this season. He already has 18 and 19 goal seasons to his credit, making him one of the few Islanders players with big-picture promise outside of John Tavares.
It may be a while before Okposo returns, but we’ll pass along updates once they become available.