Kyle Okposo bluntly criticized the ice conditions of his home rink Tuesday night.
“Awful,” the New York Islanders star forward told the New York Post. This after scoring the shootout winner to give the Islanders a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.
“Can’t have it like that. It’s got to change. It’s got to be better than that.”
Though more diplomatic in his assessment, Islanders head coach Jack Capuano also noted the softness of the surface.
“We always want to play high-percentage hockey, and I think we had some turnovers through the middle of the ice that weren’t characteristic,” Capuano said. “But when [the ice] does get bad like that — and it was a little sloppy out there tonight — you want to make sure you make the simple play.”
The Islanders’ first season in Brooklyn hasn’t been exactly smooth. Average attendance has dropped year-over-year from to 15,334 to 13,340 despite the club’s improved play, Barclays has been called out for its unfriendly sightlines, and an ESPN report last week revealed that the Islanders have become the third-most frequently named club on NHL players’ no-trade lists.
Okposo, who will be one of the league’s most sought-after free agents if not re-signed by July 1, hopes the arena’s ice improves in time for the playoffs.
“Early stages, kind of felt like one of the preseason games out there,” Okposo said. “It wasn’t very good.”