Islanders-Sens: The Future Is Now

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Islanders-Sens: The Future Is Now

Okposo (Bailey, Campoli).

That stat line says it all. It's why we're watching. In a season where the playoff expectations are as low as Bush's approval rating, seeing how the Islanders' young players develop is what it is all about.

So to see Kyle Okposo score a goal with assists from rookie Josh Bailey and Chris Campoli—three players who could be the core of this team for the next decade—was for me the high point of the Islanders' 3-1 victory at Ottawa Thursday night.

Bailey may only be up for a nine-game tryout, but there are indications, particularly with Mike Comrie hurting and being otherwise unproductive, that the Isles may let Bailey stick with the big club for the duration of the season, the way so many other NHL teams are allowing their rookies to shine.

At minimum, it gives fans another reason to buy a ticket. At best, Bailey could pay immediate dividends on the ice as well.

Bailey was praised for his poise by coach Scott Gordon and the fact that Okposo's goal came on the power play is another good sign. The Isles scored two man-up goals in the game, the other by Trent Hunter.

Bill Guerin's goal early in the third upped the lead to two goals. It's a good thing the Isles didn't score again, because we know what happens with three-goal leads around here. There was no collapse this time, though, and Joey MacDonald had a solid game in net with 29 saves.

Thomas Pock may miss Saturday's rematch at the Coliseum after getting a game misconduct for elbowing Ryan Shannon. A multi-game suspension is a possibility.

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