Many things have changed in Brooklyn now that captain John Tavares has left the New York Islanders for the Toronto Maple Leafs, and general manager Lou Lamoriello and head coach Barry Trotz have taken over for the struggling team.
However, no one expected this to change any time soon: young promising forward Joshua Ho-Sang has always been portrayed as a trouble-maker, a controversial player.
The 22-year-old forward has been trying to make his way in a regular spot in the NHL and wants to convince the Islanders that they should call him back to the big club, and trust his progress. However, there seemed to be a first weird interaction between Ho-Sang and his new general manager last week.
Drafted 28th overall by the Islanders in the 2014 NHL Draft, Ho-Sang caused a stir when he started his career after choosing to wear No. 66, a number made famous, of course, by Pittsburgh Penguins legend Mario Lemieux. While Lemieux stated that he didn't mind Ho-Sang using his famous number, Lamoriello wanted to put an end to the controversy, and the young forward sported No. 26 during the rookie camp.
Then, Ho-Sang did not take part the Thursday’s scrimmage and was on the ice just once during mini camp. He skated earlier in the day during a morning skate on Thursday, but had been kept off the ice for precautionary reasons due to soreness.
Things did not seem to progress as he wants them to... Until, coach Trotz made encouraging comments on the forward, who always seemed to struggled with former head coach Doug Weight and former GM Garth Snow.
“Josh has to learn how to be reliable not only on the ice but off the ice,” Snow once told The Athletic. “He’s going to be held accountable like every other player in this organization and that’s why he’s in Bridgeport.”
The new head coach, who signed with the team after winning the Washington Capitals' first Stanley Cup in franchise history last month, was asked about Ho-Sang and had nothing but strong things to say about him on Sirius XM NHL Newtwork.
"The upside is tremendous. He has NHL skill and NHL ability."
That is what Ho-Sang and Islanders fans wanted to hear heading into the next season. The young forward once admitted he thought he was singled out from the start of his career in New York by Snow, and now he gets a clean state to start over with coach Trotz.
And fans are loving it.