Tuesday night the Bridgeport Sound Tigers defeated the division leading Springfield Falcons in another hard fought contest at the Webster Bank Arena. Hell they’re all hard fought, but this time of year with the playoffs on the horizon it’s like being twelfth in line for an Eric Church concert with only eight seats left and you don’t want to miss the show.
The Bridgeport team dominated play from the beginning outshooting the Columbus Blue Jacket’s affiliate 13 to 8 but could not get the red lamp lit. Not that the Tigers didn’t have their opportunities because they did.
New York, as many knew, was weak on defense and several experts had elite defensive prospects such as Cam Fowler slotted for Long Island.
What would Garth do? The Islanders General Manager decided to go with the Swiss born Nino Niederreiter. It raised a few eyebrows, but not because the power forward lacked talent. It was surprising merely because he was not a blueliner.
Would the Isles select a defenseman this day? Would there be any reaches?
Let's take a look at that draft and see what happened.
In the last twelve games the Sound Tigers have scored more than three goals only three times, each time they came away winners losing the other nine, but there is hope here as well. The franchise record 0 for 41 power play slide ended on Tuesday, Nino Neiderreiter is out of his mini slump and the UPS (Ullstrom, Persson, Sundstrom) or ‘Swedish line’ is back.
The goal tending tandem of Ken Reiter and Rick DiPietro could be as good as the team has had all year. The defense is playing better than they have all season and there is every reason to hope that the offense will regain their swag. Missing from it all will be the teams’ heart.
The former 7th overall pick in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft has been invisible this season for the Islanders and it’s time that the organization looks to trade Okposo, if they haven’t started already.
Many players had to shake off rust from their time off during the lockout, but the rust should have come off during the first two weeks of the season. Through 22 games, Okposo has two goals and six assists for a measly eight points, which is good for seventh on the Islanders.
This is absolutely unacceptable for a former top pick and especially on a team that is in need of some scoring from players that aren't named Tavares, Moulson and Boyes.
What began as a normal weekend for Bridgeport’s Nino Niederreiter, turned into one of the strangest in recent memory for the team. Niederreiter made is usual call to Pete’s Deli & News for a ‘to-go’ order on his way to the arena for the Sound Tigers morning skate before the team left for Providence for the first of three games in three days.
The game in Providence started like any other before getting out of hand with the Bruins scoring the opener after two minutes of play and Matt Donovan answering four minutes later with his eighth of the season. With two minutes and thirty seconds left in the opening period, Matt Watkins was given the whistle on a very questionable hooking call, and the game changed.
The Sound Tigers would fall behind again with 26 seconds left in the middle period when the Whale scored a power play goal with Nino Niederreiter on the bench serving the teams ‘too many men on the ice’ penalty. John Persson would tie the game in the final period scoring his fifteenth of the season on Bridgeport’s second and final power play opportunity of the night, setting the stage for Sean Backman’s late game heroics.
Backman’s game has improved noticeably over the last month or so. In the past his time was spent between the hashmarks waiting for an outlet pass and avoiding the dirty areas of the ice, but no longer.
Perhaps over-looked because of his size, 5’10” and 170 pounds, the Isles 2nd round pick in the 2008 draft continues to impress as he has since high school when he was named Minnesota’s ‘Mr. Hockey’. Ness along with Jon Persson and Blair Riley are the only players who have played in each of the teams first 42 games (although a stick to the face cost him a couple of teeth and forced him to wear the ‘bubble mask’ recently).
Selected in the sixth round of the same 2008 draft, again by the Islanders, was another smallish defender (5’8’,175 lbs.) Jared Spurgeon who has already established himself as an NHL’er with the Minnesota Wild. It’s more often than not a matter of being in the right place at the right time that gets your career a jump-start but it is the consistent effort given every shift that gets rewarded.
Several posts yesterday surfaced from from ESPN’s Katie Strang and other respected reporters that Islanders top prospect Nino Niederreiter had asked to be traded. Featured writer Rob McGowan of The Checking Line – Isles Edition offered a well-written account that sheds light on the rumors and misinformation that was being reported. (Dave Csorda captures one of Nino's many celebrations in this photo.)
As a member of the Bridgeport Sound Tigers Booster Club (BSTBC) I attended the annual ‘BSTBC Snowflake Dinner’ on Tuesday evening and advised my editor, McGowan that I would ask Nino about the reports that were appearing online. Held this January at The Riverview Bistro, the ‘Snowflake Dinner’ is a very casual opportunity for the fans to get to know and interact with the players on a more personal level, not a night for interviews.
However, given the fact that these reports were nearly as important as news about Subway's eleven-inch foot-long, I asked Nino if the reports were true.
According to Katie Strang of ESPN, New York Islanders prospect Nino Niederreiter is seeking a trade from the organization.
Niederreiter has currently been playing for the Isles farm team affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers after dressing for 55 games with the Islanders during the 2011-2012 season. While in the NHL, Niederreiter scored one goal and was a -29. He primarily played on the fourth line with Jay Pandolfo and Tim Wallace (Photo Credit: Robert Kowal/Flickr).
He has arguably been the best player for the Sound Tigers this year. In 39 games played he has scored 19 goals and 17 assists for 36 points. He also leads the team with 122 shots on goal and eight power play points.