The New York Islanders entered the All-Star break atop the Metropolitan Division, but they begin the second half of their season against the New York Rangers at Nassau Coliseum on Tuesday without right wing Kyle Okposo.
The Islanders (31-14-1) will be without Okposo, who has 44 points in 46 games, for the next 6-8 weeks because of an upper-body injury, the team announced after practice Monday. Okposo was placed on injured reserve Tuesday retroactive to Jan. 19.
"It's a huge loss … [he's] one of our leaders and certainly brings so much to the table, not only his goal-scoring and his offensive ability, but he just works so hard on his game and sets an example in so many ways," center John Tavares said of Okposo. "He's just a bull on the puck and on the wall and he's done a lot of gritty things too. He's blocked a lot of shots for us this year and playing a lot of minutes.
"It gives some guys some more opportunity … [they've] got to look forward to that and try to grasp that."