Saturday, June 26, 2010

El Nino Is Coming to Long Island!

So said Charles Wang in his post pick interview.

I was totally surprised to hear the announcement at the podium of Nino Niederreiter as the Islanders draft pick. Why? Because I don't usually get what I want on Draft day.

Since I had started to research draft possibilities, I was totally sold on Erik Gudbranson and was hopeful he would be available at #5. But all the while I was researching the top 12 ranked prospects, Nino kept coming up. Erik was originally listed in the rankings at 5 - 7. Then his stock started to rise and his ranking jumped.

While that was happening, other names started falling into the mix of possible prospects and Nino's name began to climb as well. Everyone who asked me what I thought the Islanders should do got the same answer: Take Erik if he's available and if not, bring Nino to the Island.

When Gudbranson was taken at third, I was visibly disappointed sitting in the penalty box with my blogging buddies at the Coliseum draft party. I tweeted out, "I'm heartbroken." But more than just missing out on Erik, I figured for sure I was going to hear a name I hadn't even researched be called as the NEXT New York Islander.

I asked Tony from Islander Nation for his book of prospects to start looking at other possibilities, just so I wouldn't be taken completely off guard.

Then the Tweets started coming in from LA that Snow was looking to move BACK in the draft order. Again, my heart sank. How far would he go? The fourth pick was made and still there was no annoucement of a move and nothing new on Twitter.

The break in the Draft coverage from LA made me concerned. Wheels were turning, deals were being made on the draft floor, I just knew it. But then Garth Snow and his "Entourage" made their way to the podium. YES!! We were sticking with FIVE! The wait was almost over!

As Garth bent down three feet to speak into the podium microphone, he surprised me once again. This time, however, it was a wonderful surprise. Nino Niederreiter was chosen as the highest drafted Swiss player in NHL history. I'm pretty certain the scream I let out was heard in the Zamboni tunnel. When the confetti guns went off, I just couldn't believe it. "Yes! YES!" I kept saying. My associates at the table all asked, "So I take it you're happy?"

In all honesty, I am perfectly happy with this pick. Nino is a "Big time player who scores big time goals." according to Garth Snow and everyone who has ever seen Nino play. So many of my Twitter friends who have seen him play wrote to tell me how good this kid actually is.

"He's not afraid to get his nose dirty or pay a price to get a goal." Garth told the ITV reporter. Now, doesn't that sound a lot like our already 30 goal-scorer, Matt Moulson?

When Scott Gordon was quoted as saying "He's one of the few guys I went on line to find video on." I knew the coach had already built a folder on his computer with Nino's name on it. But as Gordon mentioned, this 17 year-old kid has already been exposed to a high level of competition and will be given a taste of our the Islanders operate when he attends the mini-camp in July.

The chemistry in the dressing room is something that I have noticed and been talking about the entire year. It is magical. There doesn't seem to be any annimosity or "cliques." If all goes as planned, this is a group that will play for each other. Which can only mean they will win or lose as a TEAM; and that's a good thing!

As far as the Kevin Connolly inclusion at the table and at the podium, I know a lot of people have a lot to say about it. My feeling is mixed. I'm not 100% sure why, but I'm not overly offended by it either. This is LA and LA is all about star power. Kevin lent a little glitz to the podium, especially making the announcement of pick #30 (that they traded picks #35 and 58 to Chicago to get), Brock Nelson.

Kevin told ITV Reporter Mike Trudell that he is the West Coast Rep for the NY Islanders. Connolly, a life-long NY Islanders fan feels this team is going to be a "serious contender" come next season and said he would NOT miss the home opener on October 9th. For someone who is in front of a camera all the time, he said he was nervous getting up there on the podium, but 11 year-old Cameron Wang is an old pro having been up there before.

With the first pick of Round Three* (thanks Webbard) on Saturday, the NY Islanders pulled another surprise and drafted much maligned Kiril Kabanov, the Russian Left Wing who played with Moncton this past season. The Islanders seem to be the one team willing to give young hockey players a chance to redeem themselves or hang themselves. The choice is their's.

Well, all these picks will certainly make the Blue & Orange scrimmage on July 10th an event not to miss!

And here's a video of the night from my friend JohnnyZ from YES!Islanders

1 comment:

feralcatsspayneuter said...

lets hope they are all there..just got my ticket..should be fun to see them in action..I was hoping for eric, but oh well..el nino will look good with tavares..hoping this keeps josh and kyle together..