Top Shelf – Islanders Daily 6/20/13


Feb 02, 2012; Ottawa, ON, CAN; New York Islanders right wing

Nino Niederreiter

(25) during warmup prior to game against the Ottawa Senators at Scotiabank Place. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

Astoria, NY – Nino Niederreiter, currently of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in the AHL and of the Swiss National Team—fresh off a second-place finish in World Championships—made headlines for the New York Islanders yesterday afternoon, after reports surfaced that he’d decided not to attend the Isles annual prospect camp in July.

An aside, for the uninitiated: after an Islanders prospect has attended three such mini camps, he is afforded the choice of whether to attend going forward. Niederreiter, simply by exercising his right to skip the prospect camp in favor of staying in Switzerland, has ruffled more than a few feathers on Long Island.

At least, among the more vocal Isles supporters with internet access.

It would seem that the prototypical power forward and top-three Isles organizational prospect can’t get out of his own way. If he’s not demanding a trade mid-season, he’s not-so-graciously turning down the chance to put his skills on display alongside other Islanders youth players in front of the home crowd.

And for that, he has been crucified on the Twitter machine by a jury of his [former] fans.

The fact of the matter is that Nino will be given a shot to make the big club during training camp in September, a chance for which he’ll undoubtedly be well prepared. Despite the public perception of him as a prima donna, Niederreiter has the potential to be a top-six forward on a talent-laden Islanders squad, meaning GM Garth Snow isn’t likely to deal him this offseason simply because he doesn’t have an attitude on par with that of John Tavares.

(And to be fair, there are few players league-wide who have Tavares’s level of unwavering commitment to their respective franchises.)

I’m not condoning Nino’s past actions, but jumping to the conclusion that he’s not worthy of wearing an Isles jersey based on a choice he had every right to make seems a bit…hasty, to say the least.

Let’s see where the summer takes us; we still have fantastic prospects like Ryan Strome, Griffin Reinhart and Brock Nelson scheduled to play in the July 11 “Blue and Orange” scrimmage.

Maybe we should be focusing on that, rather than on a player who doesn’t have to be there at all.



Islanders Summer Report Card: Brock Nelson (EyesOnIsles)

David Ullstrom Leaves Long Island; Nino to Follow? (Isles Optimism)

2013 NHL Draft War Room: Top 30 QMJHL Prospects (The Hockey Writers)

Islanders Top Prospects to Play in Blue and Orange Scrimmage During Mini-Camp (New York Islanders)

Floating Around The Twitter-Sphere

The Philadelphia Flyers offseason news cycle continues to move full steam ahead, as it was reported that the team will buy out the remaining two years of centerman Danny Briere’s contract, which carries a cap hit of $6.5 million per season. I wouldn’t put it past Snow to kick the tires on a potential Briere signing; if he can be had for cheap, he’d be a great depth pickup and veteran locker-room presence.

You have to admit, it does have a nice ring to it. I’d imagine the Islanders will make Tavares’s captaincy official after the free agency frenzy has run its course, but that hasn’t stopped the Isles faithful from buying personalized Tavares no. 91 jerseys with the “C” already in place.      

You have to wonder whether Emery would have gotten the start in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup finals if last night’s result was different. Now it seems that the world may never know.

Hockey fans—and Islanders fans, in particular—are passionate to a fault. I get that. But as Matt says here, there’s nothing to be gained by ridiculing a potential critical piece of a team that is poised to contend for the Stanley Cup in a few years. Let’s all take a deep breath and put our trust in Garth.

Last Night In The NHL

The Chicago Blackhawks evened the Stanley Cup finals at two games apiece last night, winning Game 4 on the road over the Boston Bruins. The 6-5 final score was a break from what had been a low-scoring series so far, but it was indicative of the end-to-end action NHL fans love.

Brent Seabrook scored at 9:51 of the overtime period on a shot from the point that eluded Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask to the stick side, capping a wild game that saw the Blackhawks relinquish two separate two-goal leads.

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane also scored for Chicago, and Michal Rozsival added two assists.

For the Bruins, Rask wasn’t his normal self in net, allowing six goals on 47 total shots by the Blackhawks. Boston never led at any point of the game, but answered each Chicago goal—or goals—with one of its own.

Patrice Bergeron led the way for the Bruins, notching two goals. Zdeno Chara chipped in with two assists. Chris Kelly, however, will likely re-live his missed tap-in on the doorstep in the final minute of the second period, which would have tied the game at 4-4.

In fact, the net was so wide-open for Kelly that the TD Garden goal horn operator accidentally triggered the horn as Kelly tipped the centering pass on-goal, only to see his shot hit the post.

Game 5 will be played Saturday night at United Center in Chicago at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Blackhawks vs. Bruins game highlights…

As always, thanks for reading us at EyesOnIsles. Keep it right here for all of your NHL playoff coverage and Isles offseason news. Be sure to check the menu bar at the top of the page for ways to connect with the EyesOnIsles staff; we’re always happy to talk hockey.