The surprising New York Islanders are starting the second half on a down note as top-line forward Kyle Okposo will be sidelined six to eight weeks because of an undisclosed upper-body injury.
Islanders coach Jack Capuano delivered the news Monday after the first practice following the NHL All-Star break. Okposo, the St. Paul native and former Gopher who played in New York’s first 46 games this season, is second on the club with 44 points — one fewer than All-Star John Tavares. He has 14 goals, including four against Pittsburgh on Jan. 16.
Okposo played three days later against Philadelphia and practiced with the club last Tuesday before the break. “I kind of had an idea before the break, but it definitely comes as a shock,” Capuano said Monday. “Kyle’s play is dictating how we go and the pace we play with.”
Avs’ Johnson out, too
Colorado will be without top defenseman Erik Johnson for three to eight weeks due to a knee injury.
Avalanche coach Patrick Roy says the team received the update on Johnson after he had a scope. Roy said Johnson was “disappointed by the situation.” Roy also said he has a “lot of confidence in our group” and that it will mean “different responsibilities for some of our defensemen.”
The former Gophers player made the All-Star team, but he didn’t play in the game over the weekend. The 26-year-old from Bloomington has a career-high 12 goals this season.
Columbus placed goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 21 and said the former Vezina Trophy winner will be out the next four to six weeks because of a groin injury.
The Blue Jackets also recalled forward Josh Anderson and added goalie Anton Forsberg to the roster on emergency recall from its AHL affiliate in Springfield, Mass.
Bobrovsky was selected to play in his first NHL All-Star Game — which was held in Columbus — before the injury.
• Los Angeles put Mike Richards on waivers, finally acknowledging the veteran center’s declining play. Richards, 29, has been a key part of the Kings’ two Stanley Cup championship teams in the past three seasons, but his plummeting offensive production hasn’t matched his exorbitant contract.
• The NHL suspended Philadelphia forward Zac Rinaldo for eight games for charging and boarding Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang. Rinaldo is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the league’s labor agreement.
• Penguins star center Sidney Crosby will miss Tuesday night’s game against Winnipeg after undergoing treatment for a lower-body injury.
• Buffalo suspended rookie defenseman Nikita Zadorov for failing to report on time following the All-Star break.