Josh Ho-Sang was loaned to the Bridgeport Sound Tigers on Friday afternoon.
This is Ho-Sang's second loan to Bridgeport this season, as he was previously loaned to the Sound Tigers on Oct. 25 and recalled on Nov. 11. Ho-Sang had 12 points (2G, 10A) in 22 games for the Islanders this season, with two goals and six assists in the 16 games since his recall.
"He's got to go play some hockey and get his game going," head coach Doug Weight said on Friday, while emphasizing the need for some harder, simpler play from his third line.
Weight elaborated on Ho-Sang after Saturday's morning skate, saying an increased role will help the 21-year-old.
"Josh just has to play hockey. He has a great coach down there. He's got to play high minutes in some situations where I haven't been allowed to put him in enough," Weight said. "He's dynamic, he's skilled. He's a good kid. But he has to find himself on a regular basis. He's young. So far, it's been a great start for a career everyone thought would never take off. He's in a good place, we're going to continue to support him and watch him down there."
Weight said he wants Ho-Sang to work on the defensive side of his game as well.
"He slipped a little bit, not defending like he was at the beginning of the year," Weight said. "He's got to get into people and say you're not scoring and this is my 30 seconds and I'm going to get off. I'm going to use every bit of energy and then I'm going to get back and score two goals. That's what Josh needs to do."
Ho-Sang's loan opens up an active spot on the Islanders roster, which the team used to recall Steve Bernier. Weight said Bernier will help the Islanders find some stability and predictability, as well as hard-nosed physical play. Bernier will skate on the fourth line with Jason Chimera and Anthony Beauvillier.
"Bernie is a pro, solid. Positionally reliable. Big body. We need some stability right now from our own zone out," Weight said. "Hopefully Berns will come up and do his job. He's not here to change the world. He's just going to play his game, but we need some stability. He's a great person. Well-respected in the room and it's going to be good for us."
"My game is very simple. I don't try to do anything flashy out there," Bernier said. "North-south. I try to protect the puck down low and spend as much time as possible in the offensive zone. I think it's the best way to play good defensively."
Bernier had 10 goals and four assists in 21 games with the Sound Tigers this season. The veteran winger is in his third season in the Islanders organization, playing 24 games with the Islanders in 2015-16 before spending the entire 2016-17 season with the Sound Tigers.
"It's been a while since I was in the NHL. I'm very excited about it and waited for a long time," Bernier said. "The way that everything worked out here two years ago wasn't the way I wanted to finish my hockey career. The best way to do that was stick with it, go to the best you can and we have a good group of guys down there."
"It's always fun to play hockey," he added. "Now that I'm here I'll try to enjoy it as much as possible."