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Let's Play Two: Islanders-Bruins Prospects Resume Tonight

Everybody watchin' Nino.
Everybody watchin' Nino.

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

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

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.