was surprised by the swarm of media that surrounded him after his on ice session on Tuesday morning. Because it was the New York Islanders Media Day, more than a few television crews were present. Trying to be considerate, the forward announced he would stand so it was easier for the cameramen to get him in view. Once he got settled, he joked and said, “It’s like a little scrum. It’s like I’m in the NFL.”
Rob Schremp laughed and said, “it’s like a media frenzy” as he watched the media come through the locker room doors and surround his stall trying to get towards his camp linemate.
Previous to this little scenario, the forwards were joking around. Schremp was mic’d-up for Islanders TV during the morning skate, so as the duo sat in their stalls taking off their gear, Schremp decided it would be fun to interview Okposo. While I caught it at the tale end, the teammates were laughing and seemed to be enjoying themselves.
“I think all the guys are (excited for the season to start),” Okposo said. “We’re having fun right now in Training Camp, but it’s going to be nice once all the games start.”
The St. Paul, Minnesota native was drafted seventh overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft. In his first full season with the Islanders during the 2008-09 season, Okposo played in 65 regular season games, notching 18 goals and 21 assists for 39 points.
In 80 games last season, the winger tallied 19 goals and 33 assists, ranking him second on the team in points with 52 (just two behind Islanders forward John Tavares
). Improving his overall point total by 13 points his second year, Okposo is ready to get to the next level. Although the 22-year-old said he has set goals for himself, he declined to comment, only responding with a simple, “yes.”
“I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing,” Okposo said. “You can’t really keep thinking about what you’re going to be doing, you just got to go play and do whatever you can to help the team win and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
Since the end of the hockey season, the Islanders have made some moves acquiring defensemen Mark Eaton
, James Wisniewski and Milan Jurcina
in free agency. They also selected Swiss power forward Nino Niederreiter
fifth overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
“We’ve put some good pieces together,” Okposo said. “We made a couple of off season moves that are really going to help our team and we’ve got a couple of great goalies back there. So we’re feeling good about our team. Everybody’s got another year under their belt, all the younger guys, they’ve got some more experience and so we feel really good about our team.”
As long as these guys work hard and keep having fun, their chemistry on the ice will just build and progress, so here’s looking towards the Blue vs. Orange inner-squad games on Saturday, September 29.