If this were a playoff series, the Islanders would be talking about salvaging a split, and the Bruins would be explaining "we're not happy with a split, we want more" tonight, the second game of a back-to-back between the rookies and hopefuls of these two respective organizations.
Since it's about the farthest thing from a playoff series, there will be players settling little scores from last night, perhaps keeping an eye on the "two fights and you're out" rule, and remembering that if they weren't too visible last night (Dougie Hamilton? Matt Donovan?), they'll want to make a bigger impression tonight.
Of course that's not quite fair: Donovan is almost certainly AHL-bound this year. Hamilton is almost certainly bound to return to juniors. And last night was the first instance of elevated competition most of these prospects have seen all summer. (A few, such as Ryan Strome, did at least see WJC development camp with an exhibition game or two.)
It doesn't mean much long-term, but it is fun to watch some of the raw skill level involved with prospects you read about more than you see actually play. And while they won't live and die by an exhibition game, their coaches do expect them to make an impression.
Notes and Errata
- Anders Nilsson will get the start tonight. I don't think there's any question Kevin Poulin is the lead dog among the three goalies in rookie camp, so this is a big chance for Nilsson to show step above his draft classmate Mikko Koskinen.
- As discussed in last night's game thread here and post-game recap, special teams really colored the game. Jack Capuano said likewise, with a little more at the official site.
- Mark Streit discusses his surgery and return to skating on New World land. (Just to be clear: He has been skating in Switzerland all summer.)
- Ken Morrow and Garry Galley get some honors from their old haunts.
Dustin Kohn is off to
Switzerland[edit: Sweden. Stupid head to fingers not working today].
- Arthur Staple did a profile of Nino Niederreiter before last night's game. Chris Botta had info from last year on Nino's "mental coach."
In conversations at this site -- and we have some Swiss members who give us interesting perspectives -- Nino's training and mindset as a Swiss player in North America has come up a lot. We're all hoping for the best while also parsing each scrap of detail, which can be both helpful and dangerous given the limited exposure.
Capuano was asked about both Niederreiter and Ryan Strome last night -- those are the high-profile prospects here, and they combined for some pretty powerplay work -- and he was quick to temper praise. He's more worried about 5-on-5 play. If Niederreiter is to make the team this year, he should be more worried about 5-on-5 too.
But it's a long camp. Niederreiter has the benefit of both this rookie camp week and next week with the big boys. The Islanders as an organization have sent signs that they'd love for Niederreiter to make the team. Capuano as a coach needs to -- and has been -- sending signs that a job will not be handed to him. With so many other forwards -- some with pro experience -- pushing from below, there could be as many as three forward openings up for battles in the pro camp.
Nino's job is hardly assured. But it's also not his to win or lose based on some rookie scrimmages and prospect games. It's going to be a fun month.
Elsewhere in the Land o' the Hockey
- Niederreiter's Winterhawks are stretched quite thin with so many of their players away at NHL camps.
- WEEI on last night's rookie game.
- LeafsNation has been doing a lot of this kind of work. Here they are on the location of shots allowed.
- Down Goes Brown with his annual NHL 12 review. Tongue firmly in cheek.
- In Lou We Trust was predictably displeased by the Post report about the Devils finances. It's the Post, so trust it as you'd trust anything under Rupert Murdoch's control. But I will venture that someone leaked that story for some reason, so it's at minimum a sign of smoke in the Devils' ownership saga and looming post-Nets financial situation.
- Speaking of the Post, here's something about them and Sean Avery that involves two parties I don't really care about. All race to the lowest common denominator!
We'll be live-threading the game again tonight, just like last night. It will be streamed again, but this one is also open to the public (free to season-ticket holders, $10 donation for others), so the presence of fans might also add a little more edge to the proceedings.
Nothing a little "Live is Life" can't soften.