Isles have Okposo and 50% off tickets so you can see him. But, they also plead for you not to buy into the hype. A mixed message if I ever saw one. And perhaps a slight schism in the internal politics of sales mechanics versus team dynamics, as a season is awash in disappointment. There is no doubt that people like the coach, GM and VP of Media Relations, Chris Botta (who wrote a great blog on the subject) want Okposo to develop properly. Because everyone knows where the bread is buttered most. A winning team and tradition.
Not that there is essentially anything wrong with trying to get fans onboard with futures. The sales/marketing force on the Islanders has had to be strong over the years to offset a horrendous number of years of losing. Their successes can be measured alongside with team moves, as attendence is up as is TV ratings this season.
But I think the sales/marketing branding of just Okposo for the original 50% off tickets announcement is misguided. It should have been expended to include Comeau, Bergie, and Tambellini in a "kid focus". By focusing that white hot glare on one player, especially one who has not sniffed the NHL, as he has only played 29 AHL games since dropping out from college, seems to not exactly be "best practices" in BD's hockey book.
All this said, the Isles need a star. Nobody has developed and succeeded here since DiPietro, and before that, perhaps Ziggy Palffy? (unless someone can bring up another?). Not that we didn't draft others. Mad Mike just traded them away before hitting their stride. So Long Island and the Isles need more heroes. And one can feel the excitement from within LI. It is almost palpable. They all feel Okposo is the real deal. Not that he's going to flay the league alive, like Ovechkin and Malkin. But truly be a top 2 line fixture as he develops. And if he can re-establish a nose for the net, and impose his will, he might...just might, be what we are waiting for. A bona fide star.
But ONLY IF and UNTIL then, he's just a kid. Judge accordingly.
Okposo will be on a line with Richard Park and Blake Comeau.
GAME: Antropov and Sundin are out for TO.
BLOG BOX: I will be at tonight's game, but not doing a live blog. I have the good sense of marrying a woman who likes Islanders hockey. So I will be all the way up in section 323 to watch the game with the wife tonight. I WILL be heading to the locker room for post-game, however. So stay tuned tomorrow for my take on the TO game.
PREDICTION: As Clubber Lang once said, "Prediction? Pain!" Toronto is hot. Jason Blake might have heard rumors, true or not (doesn't really matter at this point), that he was offered to the Isles for a 6th rounder. Thats the kind of thing, coupled with his gaffe last time on LI that cost them a goal, that can inspire the play. Blake was always best with a solid chip on his shoulder. The Isles, meanwhile, have been in freefall. Not a good recipe. But, if the kids give enough energy and there is a good crowd tonight...you never know.