Joshua Ho-Sang was born for Brooklyn and with the changing tone of the New York Islanders, he might be exactly what the team needs – if they have the courage to give him room to groove.
The New York Islanders have their quiet superstar, the one who can’t be hated and goes about his business of being world class in a quiet and respectable manner. John Tavares not only carries the Islanders but embodies everything that hockey is about.
In Montreal, this summer the Canadiens traded away defenseman P.K. Subban, much to the dismay of a fanbase that connected with him and loved him.
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On the outside, it looked like a pretty straight up deal, world class defenseman for world class defenseman, though youth falls slightly to the side of Subban. Look a little closer and it’s a swap of the more flamboyant Subban for the quieter, more conforming personality of Weber.
Ho-Sang Too Far Left
The Islanders chose Joshua Ho-Sang, one of the most naturally gifted players in the 2014 draft, after 28 teams bypassed him. Words to describe him included brash, arrogant, undisciplined. He was his own worst enemy and he certainly did not embody the game, especially the game as it’s been perceived over the last few decades.
That’s really the problem, isn’t it? Ho-Sang is too far left and that is something completely at odds with the more conservative hockey gods (aka Hockey Canada). It’s as much a social entity as it is a hockey thing.
Hockey as it’s been and as it’s supposed to be isn’t ready for PK Subban so there’s really no way it can be ready for a younger, less disciplined, and unproven Ho-Sang.
There’s a fine line being drawn here for Ho-Sang. On one hand, the guy was born for Brooklyn. He has the personality and fire to slide himself into its very make-up and sell the New York Islanders.
He’s engaging and confident and in a game that’s changing – in a world that’s changing – that’s necessary and shouldn’t be stifled.
What will it take to lend a hand in his success and thereby be a benefactor in it?
The Guts to Give Him a Shot
In a word, guts. Of course, it isn’t as simple as that. It’s going to take some know-how to guide the talent and skill rather than attempt to harness it.
Ho-Sang is not a player who should be harnessed. What sets a player like Tavares apart from a player like Ho-Sang is the dedication that comes with the skill set and hockey IQ. Ho-Sang will have to show that dedication in order to hone his skill and see the whole ice.
Here’s the comparable and while it’s fiction, it fits. There’s a moment in the long since finished television show, Friday Night Lights, when Virgil Merriweather tells the venerable kingmaker, Coach Taylor, that he doesn’t know how to coach Vince Howard, the highly skilled, instinctual, and wet behind the ears quarterback for the East Dillon Lions.
Taylor right away assumes it’s a race issue, but Merriweather debunks that and basically says it’s a caging thing. Vince needed the room to groove and freedom to do his thing on the field.
There are some good indications that Ho-Sang is getting it together and growing up, as Garth Snow so unceremoniously demanded. With the Islanders camp starting, it’s time to back up his words with his play. If Ho-Sang can do that, then the Islanders brass has to step up, open their minds, and let the kid swagger and sway. Then maybe we’ll be chanting his name till the roof comes off.