Left to carry the banner as the premier hockey league in North America is the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Islanders proud affiliate the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
If you are planning a trip to the Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport for your first taste of AHL action you are in for a treat. The quality of play and level of competition will leave you impressed, the more intimate fan experience and ambiance of this state of the art facility will certainly leave you planning to return.
There is less than 12 hours until the third lockout begins under Commissioner Gary Bettman's watch. The last occurred back in 2004, canceling the 2004-2005 season and resulted in a new salary cap system. However, that system has been failing the smaller market teams, forcing them to keep up with the other clubs who earn more revenue and can afford higher salaries.
The owners and the NHLPA are fine with a salary cap system; they are not trying to reinvent the wheel all over again. But both sides are trying to structure an agreement on how the revenue is shared between the owners and players.
In recent discussions, several different proposals have been thrown on the table but none have come close to settling the disagreement. Bettman has been prepared to lockout his players if a new deal is not reached by the end of today. Although each side is likely to meet with each other before the day is over, it seems very unlikely that an 11th hour deal will be made.
On March 16, 2007, his second season with the Oshawa Generals, Tavares scored his 70th and 71st goals of the season, breaking Wayne Gretsky’s OHL record for the most goals scored by a 16 year-old. He won the CHL’s player of the year award that year and returned to ‘The Dungeon’ for more work along side one of his best friends and newest New York Islander, Brandon DeFazio.
In a normal year, Kichton’s NHL Entry Level Contract (ELC) would have already passed from negotiation to signing. This year negotiations have yet to begin.
Several weeks after multi-year, multi-million dollar contracts were being handed out like Hershey Bars on Halloween, seventy-thousand dollar a year ELC’s are being withheld while meetings in Toronto and New York drag on to the inevitable.
The Bridgeport Sound Tigers will open their home season as defending conference champions against the Providence Bruins at 7pm on Saturday October 13. Missing from the lineup that night will be former ‘tough-guys’ Micheal Haley (now in the Rangers organization) and Trevor Gillies (who has signed to play in the KHL).
To help fill the void left by the departure of these two enforcers, the Islanders have signed former Providence Bruin defenseman Nathan McIver to a one year, two-way contract.
It is rare when a player stays for more than three seasons with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. The team exists for one purpose and one purpose only … develop talent for their NHL affiliate, the New York Islanders.
Each September, a half-dozen or so twenty-year olds arrive in Bridgeport to begin their careers as professional hockey players against bigger, faster, stronger competition.
This years arrivals could include forwards Brock Nelson, Kirill Kabanov, Johan Sundstrom, John Persson, Mike Halmo and perhaps Nino Niederreiter, each, an investment by the Islanders in the future of the franchise.
In the 2011 NHL Entry Level Draft, the Islanders selected two players from Sweden, John Persson and Johan Sundstrom, who will most likely be starters for the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this season. Each has taken a different path to reach their goal … a full time job in the NHL.
Nino Niederreiter came into the NHL last season with a lot of high hopes and expectations. From a stats stand point, it's safe to say that he fell very short of the mark for anyone's standards.
In 55 games, the 19 year old winger scored one goal along with a -29 rating and 12 penalty minutes after spending basically the entire season on the fourth line. His line-mates for the majority of the year were Jay Pandolfo ,Tim Wallace (prior to being claimed by the Tampa Bay Lightning) or Micheal Haley as well as other various candidates that were dressed depending on that game's line-up.
It's safe to say that he wasn't playing with the most offensively capable skaters, and he had to do so in limited ice time as well.