Islanders forward Joshua Ho-Sang admitted he is going through some growing pains after he was a healthy scratch from AHL Bridgeport's lineup on Wednesday.
"When you start the year in the NHL and then get scratched in the AHL in the same year, it's kind of … it's kind of mentally tough," Ho-Sang told the New York Post's Greg Joyce.
Ho-Sang, the former first-round pick, scored just two goals and had 10 assists in 22 games with the Islanders before he was demoted to Bridgeport in December. He had four goals and eight assists in 15 games with the Sound Tigers, but did not dress for Wednesday's game against Hartford.
"He's a baby, he's immature and he's got a lot of growing to do," Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson told Joyce. "I'm excited. The upside of him is outstanding. He worked hard today, he's been working really hard. We all make mistakes, we all have bad games. It's how do we respond from those and what do we learn from them? Every piece of this season for Josh, with us, is a development piece."
Ho-Sang, 21, said it has been tough to regain his confidence after his demotion and having "people getting on you.
"Yeah, I'm only young, but I'm burning years off my NHL career. It sucks," he said. "You want to be up top. For me, I didn't look at it this way until this year. I was looking forward to hopefully my first [full] NHL season."
Andy Graziano, SNY.TV Twitter
Sometimes, headlines are put out there for clicks, a sensationalist attempt to get someone to read something they might otherwise skip. Other times, it's exactly what was said, as in this case. The only thing missing, and perhaps the biggest thing missing, is context.
Yes, Thompson said Ho-Sang is a "baby" and "immature." (He didn't use the two words together.) However, despite Ho-Sang's various off-ice and attitude issues, it's hard to think Thompson meant "baby" in a derogatory manner.
Part of the reason the talented youngster was sent down was maturity in the first place, so the only alarming thing about the second part of the Bridgeport head coach's comment should be why he still isn't, according to Islanders coaches, "getting it." Ho-Sang has all the talent in the world. Now, he just needs to harness it and become a better all-around version of himself.