"I've had a bit of a hard time with it," Moulson told a small crowd of reporters, in what felt like a therapy session after practice on Monday at the Nassau Coliseum. "I've tried not to blame myself. It's hockey. But any time you're involved in something with a teammate, or any player in a situation of that severity, it's hard."
Moulson was one of the happiest stories on the Islanders and throughout the NHL last season, a Los Angeles Kings farmhand who scored 30 goals in the NHL after signing a two-way contract in search of an opportunity. Now, through no real fault of his own, his name is attached to a potentially devastating storyline involving his team.
During the third period of an intrasquad scrimmage on Saturday at the Coliseum, Moulson gently pushed Streit in the back as the All-Star defenseman was facing the boards. Although Moulson was given a penalty for cross-checking, he didn't have both hands on his stick. Streit fell awkwardly into the boards, trying to catch his fall by extending his left arm. He skated off to the trainer's room in obvious pain.
As soon as the public event was over, Moulson checked on the status of his friend and teammate whom he calls, "Our MVP."
"I was worried that Mark was going to say, 'What the heck happened?' " said Moulson.
Despite reeling from the pain of a torn labrum and torn rotator cuff, Streit reassured Moulson that there was no problem between them.
"Don't worry about it," Streit told Moulson. "I fell awkwardly. I don't know what happened."
Still struggling to understand how an innocent play could cost the Islanders their No. 1 defenseman, power play quarterback and alternate captain, Moulson reconnected with Streit on Sunday. Again, Streit went to lengths to absolve his teammate of any wrongdoing.
Moulson is greatly appreciative of Streit's grace, but it may take a few more days before -- as he described it -- he "stops replaying the accident in my head."
Just a week ago, Streit and Doug Weight -- the alternate and team captain -- held a players' meeting after the first session of training camp with a goal of continuing to raise the bar on their young team's professionalism. After the meeting, Streit talked to reporters about the Islanders no longer looking at themselves as a rebuilding team, but one "with so much talent and a chance to compete now, not just later." In12 days, the Islanders will open the 2010-11 regular season without Streit.
"It's tough," said Moulson. "I don't know if there's anyone in the league with as much responsibility on a team as Mark over the past couple of seasons."