Bridgeport Sound Tigers

Joshua Ho-Sang AHL
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Islanders on Ho-Sang returning to organization: ‘It’s in his hands’

The New York Islanders confirmed what Joshua Ho-Sang announced via, um, Eminem: Ho-Sang is back with the organization.

Granted, a return to the Islanders isn’t guaranteed, if Ho-Sang manages it at all in 2019-20. Instead, Ho-Sang is reporting to the Islanders’ lowly AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Regardless, Ho-Sang announced his hockey return with style:

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Time to play hockey 🙊

A post shared by josh ho-sang (@66jhosang) on

 

Mutual benefits

While the Islanders boast a mighty 22-7-2 record, Bridgeport ranks as one of the worst teams in the AHL and its lowest-scoring squad.

This sets up a situation where all parties could gain if things go well, as The Athletic’s Arthur Staples explains (sub required). Bridgeport could use the scoring and the parent club might benefit from some injury insulation. Meanwhile, Ho-Sang must prove himself to revive his professional hockey career.

“It’s in his hands”

The Islanders make it sound like the world is Ho-Sang’s oyster, although some might read a bit of a … parental tone into GM Lou Lamoriello’s remarks.

“He just has to go there and do what he has to do as a player and conform to the environment and they’ll be no issues,” Lamoriello said Tuesday, via the team website.

“He was the last cut going down to the American league, so he did have a good training camp. Where he’s at right now physically and mentally, we’ll just have to wait and see. But from our end of it, he’ll have a clean slate. It’s in his hands.”

Barry Trotz implies that it might take some time before Ho-Sang changes minds.

“Right now, he’s got to get back and get back playing before he’s even an option for me,” Trotz said.

So, it’s good that the Islanders are saying the right things. Don’t blame Ho-Sang and others for remaining frustrated, though.

The case for Ho-Sang as an NHL player

Certainly, from here, it’s maddening to see the 23-year-old fail to make a full-time NHL impact.

Seemingly from the moment he was drafted 28th overall by the Islanders in 2014, Ho-Sang became a polarizing presence. While Ho-Sang made missteps along the way, particularly being late to training camp in 2015, he’s argued for his presence with blinding skill.

For quite some time, the answer seemed to be that maybe Ho-Sang should simply be playing for a different NHL team. Instead, the situation’s dragged on and on. Honestly, you could argue we’ve been waiting for some closure since Garth Snow was Islanders GM.

The rest of the NHL absorbs some of the blame, mind you. Ho-Sang passing through waivers right before the season began still leaves me scratching my head, honestly.

No, Ho-Sang isn’t perfect, but it’s hard to believe that he isn’t good enough to land a spot as one of 12 starting forwards on one of the NHL’s 31 teams.

Just about every objective sign, including this heat map from Hockey Viz, argues that Ho-Sang could benefit plenty of teams. Frankly, his defensive flaws might also be exaggerated:

Ho-Sang ultimately asked for a trade after barely failing to make the team out of training camp. The Islanders failed to “consummate” a trade, and Ho-Sang left the Islanders organization altogether since Oct. 1 … until now.

The Sound Tigers play their next game on Wednesday, but it’s unclear if Ho-Sang will be ready. Eventually, we’ll see if Ho-Sang runs with this opportunity, though — assuming the slate is truly clean.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

PHT Morning Skate: Ducks’ Patrick Maroon the latest guest on ‘Between Two Zambonis’

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Anaheim Ducks forward Patrick Maroon recently joined teammate Ryan Kesler on the latest installment of ‘Between Two Zambonis’. The pair discussed Maroon’s celebrity look a likes and even took shots at captain Ryan Getzlaf’s hairline.

Editor’s Note: Play one-day fantasy hockey tonight! Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a $25,000 league for Monday’s NHL games. It’s just $2 to join and first place wins $2,000. Starts Monday at 7:00pm ET. Enter Now!

“I wake up in the morning and wonder what I’m going to do besides work out” – Tom Sestito discusses the diminishing enforcer role in hockey. (The Globe and Mail)

Top prospect Dylan Strome had a six-point game Sunday to win the Ontario Hockey League’s scoring title. (Yahoo)

The Western Hockey League’s Kelowna Rockets develop D-Men down to a science. (NHL.com)

Bridgeport Sound Tigers forward Kael Mouillierat used a lacrosse-style move to open the scoring against the Binghamton Senators on Sunday:

Sixteen seasons. 22 teams. Zero NHL games. But the passion never left Frank Littlejohn. (The Hockey News)

St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo discusses the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon:

Trade: Coyotes acquire Leggio from the Islanders

The Arizona Coytoes have acquired goaltender David Leggio from the New York Islanders in exchange for Mark Louis.

Leggio, 30, is 7-13-0 to go along with an .861 save percentage and a 3.93 GAA in 23 games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers of the American Hockey League this season.

Leggio made news earlier this season when he purposely dislodge his net while facing a 2-on-0 breakaway during a November game against the Springfield Falcons.

Louis, 27, has three assists and 77 penalty minutes in 34 games with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage this season.

Isles place Grabner on IR, recall McDonald and Zolnierczyk

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The New York Islanders placed Michael Grabner on injured reserve with an undisclosed injury Sunday and recalled Colin McDonald and Harry Zolnierczyk.

Grabner was a minus-1 and played nearly 10 minutes in the Islanders 2-1 loss to the Boston Bruins on Saturday.

Injuries have limited Grabner to just 18 games this season where he’s scored five goals and seven points.

Zolnierczyk has 14 goals and 36 points in 47 AHL games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season.

McDonald appeared in two games with the Islanders earlier this season, but failed to register a point. In 40 AHL games the forward has 14 goals and 35 points.

The Islanders are back in action tonight when they visit the Buffalo Sabres.

Islanders activate Halak from IR

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The New York Islanders have activated goaltender Jaroslav Halak from injured reserve the club announced Sunday.

Halak has been out of the Islanders lineup since Dec. 20 with a lower body injury.

Kevin Poulin, who was recalled on an emergency basis from the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, has been reassigned to the American Hockey League club. Poulin made one start in Halak’s absence making 26 saves in Saturday’s loss to the Buffalo Sabres.

Halak is 18-6-0 this season to go along with a 2.24 G.A.A. and a .919 save percentage.