One can quibble about a flaw or two in a young player’s game, and NHL coaches certainly seem to focus on those errors, sometimes arguably while giving low-ceiling grinders a pass.*
Such decisions go from “frustrating the nerds” to irritating a wider range of a fan base after losses. Fair or not, that’s the nature of the beast.
So you can bet that there were some New York Islanders fans’ who went from irritated when Josh Ho-Sang was a healthy scratch for their season-opener to irate when the Columbus Blue Jackets dominated the Isles 5-0.
Ho-Sang might not have the same ceiling, but seeing Artemi Panarin dazzle with his creativity likely twisted the knife deeper.
Well, whether an injury to Cal Clutterbuck is the catalyst or not, Ho-Sang is back in the Islanders’ lineup as they take on the Buffalo Sabres tonight.
This is a delight not just for Islanders fanatics, but hockey enthusiasts at large, as Ho-Sang is one of those players who brings a little art to this fast, violent game.
Now, as much as Islanders fans are frustrated with Ho-Sang’s scratch, they can at least find company in such misery.
Really, the Vancouver Canucks scratching Brock Boeser is even more head-scratching than number 66 sitting for the Islanders, as Boeser stands as one of the few players some Vancouver fans look forward to seeing.
There also might be some sadness for Edmonton Oilers fans who wanted another glimpse of Kailer Yamamoto, although Oilers fans don’t have much to complain about these days.
Just looking at the New Jersey Devils running rampant with rookies, you wonder if some NHL teams are giving up precious points by being too afraid to hand the keys over to their more talented (and yes, maybe riskier) players.
The Islanders would be wise to keep Ho-Sang in their mix going forward.
* – As a reminder, Dan Girardi, for all the hustle-love he gets, made this blunder last night.