NEW YORK -- New York Islanders' coach Al Arbour doesn't expect miracles from 19-year-old David Chyzowski, only hard work, all-around play and a few goals. Chyzowski, recalled by the big club earlier this week after a two-week conditioning stint with the American Hockey League's Capital District Islanders, said he returns a bit more polished and with a renewed confidence.
There have been some big expectations of Chyzowski, the second overall pick in the 1989 entry draft and the young man who helped Canada win the gold medal at the World Junior Championships last year. But the results have been slow in coming, at best, for the second-year left wing.
"I have to look ahead and forget where I was drafted and learn the game every night," Chyzowski said.
Arbour isn't expecting Chyzowski to fill the net -- at least not yet. He is willing to be patient.
"You're asking a lot of a 19-year-old kid," Arbour said. "He's not Superman."
Consistency would be just fine at this point, although Chyzowski admitted he often demands too much of himself.
"Sometimes I have to remember that I am only 19," he said. "I expect that I should play just as well as the guy next to me. Sometimes I struggle. It doesn't bother me."
In between stops at Kamloops (Western Hockey League) and the world championships in Finland last season, Chyzowski found time to play 34 games and score eight goals for the Islanders as the NHL's youngest player. But this year his playing time has been sporadic (eight games), his performance disappointing (one goal, minus eight).
"They told me to go down, work hard and enjoy myself," Chyzowski said. "When I was here, I was struggling and not having much fun."
He did have fun upstate, rediscovering a booming shot that helped him register 56 goals and 104 points in junior hockey with Kamloops two years ago. Chyzowski had three goals and nine points in seven games during his brief stint with Capital District.
"I have my confidence back," he said.
Chyzowski will stick with the Islanders regardless of his performance, even though he has a year of junior eligibility left.
"He's not going to go anywhere," Arbour said. "That doesn't mean he's going to play all the time, either. But at this stage, sending him back to juniors would be counterproductive."
In practice, Chyzowski played on a line centered by Ray Ferraro, recently acquired from Hartford in the Doug Crossman trade. Arbour figured Ferraro's experience would help the 6-foot-1, 190-pound winger.
"His shot precedes him," Ferraro said. "He has patience with the puck and knows who to get into position to get a shot. Everyone's a big scorer in juniors, and all of a sudden in the NHL you can't go through five guys."