Blog: Ho-Sang’s Work Ethic, Commitment Is Rewarded

With the trade deadline over and the New York Islanders failed attempt at landing Matt Duchene now in the rear-view mirror, they managed to make one minor move by calling up recent AHL player of the month, Josh Ho-Sang, for the remaining six games on what is a franchise record nine-game road trip. According to reports, Ho-Sang will play and get top six or top nine minutes. He’s come a long way from over sleeping in his first Isles training camp. He’s grown as a person and as a player and it is starting to show on the score sheet. He scored 5 goals and 10 assists for 15 points in the month of February. His total for the season is 10 goals and 26 assists for 36 points in 48 games. So for the month of February, he’s been able to rack up half of his points in one month. There’s no denying he’s found chemistry with line-mate and fellow first rounder, Michael Dal Colle. Many had thought however that Dal Colle would be the first to get the call up, but Ho-Sang has had such an impact, it was hard for the Isles to ignore. Let’s discuss three reasons why he’s up with the Islanders. First I’ll let Islanders play-by-play answer the first reason:

Indeed, the Isles need all the depth they can get for this long trip, but Bracken Kearns is not a top 6 forward in the NHL. What the Isles need to see from Ho-Sang is what he has in the NHL. It won’t just be these six, but what they’re looking for is how he handles the pace and rigors of the NHL.

The second reason is simply depth. Shane Prince, Casey Cizikas, Cal Clutterbuck and Andrew Ladd have all been on the mend and Cizikas is out the longest, so brining in a player for a long trip to allow the others to heal gives Ho-Sang the opportunity to show what he can give the Islanders.

Third, and most importantly, he’s earned it. What Ho-Sang has accomplished this year is his overall maturity as a professional which includes his work ethic improving. I recently spent the weekend in Bridgeport and one of the questions that had Sound Tigers fans wondering was his commitment to the team concept. It’s only been recently that they’ve seen signs of that. To further that point, I was able to get Bridgeport Sound Tigers head coach Brent Thompson’s thought on what Ho-Sang improved on this year:

His work ethic. His commitment to our team, commitment to himself, doing the right things both on and off the ice. Practicing harder, buying into the team concept, it really comes down to his work ethic and moving his feet, committed to our system, and he’s doing well and he’s being rewarded because of it.

photo courtesy of stamfordadvocate.com
How long Ho-Sang is up for will ultimately depend on him. Do I think he’s ready for full-time NHL duty? No, I don’t. He still has a few areas to work on and some more shedding of junior habits, but for all the negative he’s either garnered from his earlier actions, he’s also earned this chance to prove himself to everyone that he does belong in the NHL someday and it starts against Dallas. He’s grown as a person, as a player and most importantly, as a professional. I’m not going to lie, but having seen enough of him play, he could be on John Tavares’ wing some day. He can make defenseman look silly as he skates around them and he’s learned to be a little more greedy in shooting the puck more, but his overall game has the potential to be something special, especially as a player setting up Tavares. Ultimately, he should be sent down after the trip because by then the rest of the Islanders will be able to come back and play the rest of the season. More importantly he and the rest of the Sound Tigers, including Jaroslav Halak, have a legitimate chance of making a long Calder Cup run this year and that will only help develop Ho-Sang even further in his young career. He can take this learning experience of being in NHL and bring it back to Bridgeport and become more motivated to get back to the big club. The one lesson that he has experienced? Where there was punishment for a lack of commitment, he’s now learned that hard work is rewarded. It’s a big step in the right direction, how far he goes is still up to him.

PK

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