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Islanders coach disappointed, but understands Ho-Sang's frustrations

Weight to meet with forward prospect, who reportedly says he was treated unfairly

by Brian Compton @BComptonNHL / Deputy Managing Editor

EAST MEADOW, N.Y. -- New York Islanders coach Doug Weight said Friday he was disappointed but understanding when it came to forward prospect Joshua Ho-Sang, who told The Athletic earlier this week he felt singled out when he was demoted to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League in December.

"I think the natural defensive reaction is to tell him to look in the mirror, look at this production, look at what he's done, and the other reaction should be from us, and we should look in the mirror," Weight said. "We should all learn from these events and look through them. Most importantly, we should discuss them with him rather than discuss them through these cameras, and we will do that.

"For sure, it's eye-opening and an emotional thing for him. He wants to be in the NHL, and that's where we want him. We have never singled him out in that fashion. There's plenty of other things that have occurred over the time that are different than a lot of other players. It doesn't mean that every player has his own challenge to make them better, to try to get them to this level. We still want that for Josh moving forward."

Ho-Sang, selected No. 28 by the Islanders at the 2014 NHL Draft, went six straight games without a point and was sent to Bridgeport on Dec. 15. He has been there since.

The Islanders were eliminated from Stanley Cup Playoff contention Monday and enter their game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Barclays Center on Friday (7 p.m. ET; MSG+, TSN4, NHL.TV) having allowed 279 goals, the most in the NHL.

Ho-Sang, who was demoted to work on the defensive side of the game, said he felt he was treated unfairly.

"Yeah, I think it's pretty obvious," the 22-year-old told The Athletic. "There were some comments about me when I wasn't in the NHL, so I wasn't affecting the team, but they were focused on my defense and my turnovers when … look, if you're going to send me down because of defense, it'd be nice to see other people be held accountable. That's all."

The Islanders were 17-12-3 when Ho-Sang was sent to the AHL. They are 15-23-7 since.

Ho-Sang has six goals and 16 assists in 43 NHL games. He has 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists) in 41 games with Bridgeport this season.

"I feel like I've played games of substance and I've done well," Ho-Sang told The Athletic. "More importantly, the team's done well with me there. If you're going to tell me that I'm bad defensively, I do this, I do that, but you win more than you lose with me in the lineup …"

Weight said he was disappointed because of the amount of time he's spent working with and evaluating Ho-Sang, whom the Islanders traded up to select at the draft.

"Speaking his mind isn't the end of the rope for us," Weight said. "It's something we'll sit down and talk about every aspect of it. There's not a guy in this organization in the last year and a half I've spent more time with. I was disappointed in that. My job when he's down there is to watch him and to watch the reviews from (assistant general manager) Chris Lamoriello and (Bridgeport coach) Brent (Thompson) and the coaches, and talk about maybe how we can move forward.

"I've watched every single game we've played with him in my office until 4 o'clock in the afternoon -- every single game - and talked about his off-ice, talked about the on-ice. I have compassion for him. I like him. So that was disappointing. …

"I get it. There's frustration. I'm glad hopefully he got it off his chest, but we have to move forward and we have to do that face to face. That's the last I'm going to discuss that."

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