THE MORNING SKATE — Nino Niederreiter’s Agent Speaks to Swiss Press

Kevin Schultz

Following the news Tuesday that Nino Niederreiter requested a trade, different bits and pieces of the story have come to light. Tuesday night, Newsday added a bit of a timeline of events from the GM’s side. Wednesday, the CT Post caught up with Niederreiter at Sound Tigers practice and he didn’t have much to say. “I just do what I can control the best I can on the ice,” Niederreiter told the Post. The night before, Niederreiter was at a team function and told a fan ‘it wasn’t him but his agent’ who was behind the trade request.

So the one person we haven’t heard a lot in the english press from is the agent, Andy Rufener. He declined to talk to Newsday for their story Tuesday night and was cited as delivering the news to Garth Snow by ESPN but again, wasn’t reached for comment.

However, Rufener did give an interview to the Swiss outlet 20 Minutes. In it, Ruefener deflects some of the blame for the situation away from his client and towards himself. He also comes across as taking this as the end of days a bit of a hard line. Swiss IPB reader Oliver sent in a translated version of the article. Writes Oliver:

“20min” is a cost-free swiss mass media news paper not really famous for high quality journalism – but anyway, some suppose interviewer Klaus Zaugg to be a great hockey expert …

The interview is quite clear and adds some fuel to the fire. It’s getting quite personal. My English and the translation obviously is not perfect but I guess I hit the main translation points…

And the article:

Nino Niederreiter has to join a team that believes in him

Q: “Don’t you take a too high risk to request a trade?”
A: “No, I don’t take any risk. N.N. is a top scorer in the farm team and doesn’t get a chance in the NHL. He didn’t get a real chance last season and went literally stale in the third and fourth line. He has nothing left to lose with the Islanders. It can’t get worse than now, I would never have requested for a trade if there would be something left to lose in NY.”

Q: “Was the request for of a trade your idea or Nino’s?”
A: “It was solely mine and I told Nino how I will proceed and that I take the responsability for it. This is not a hasty action. I have deliberated that step and asked several sides for advice.”

Q: “So you don’t see N.N. to have a chance with the Islanders?”
A: “I want to say it open and above board: under this G.M. and coach – no.”

Q: “So your action is to understand as a cry for help?”
A: “Yes, if you like. Now every NHL organization knows that there is a first round draft pick who doesn’t get a chance and wants to get away.”

Q: “Are there already reactions?”
A: “Yes. And a lot of approval.”

Q: “You had a not so dramatic but similar situation in Anaheim concerning Luca Sbisa. S. was relegated to the farm team. Though he was much to good for that. But at that time you didn’t do anything.”
A: “The situation was different: I knew that the only problem was coach R. Carlye and that his days were numbered. Sbisa had a good reputation by the GM and we knew that we only had to wait until Carlyle was fired.”

Q: “What’s next?”
A: “We will see. Either way I’m faced with tough negotiations with GM Snow when Nino’s contracts expires in two years. My concern is that N.N. joins a team that believes in him and gives him a fair chance, or that the responsible persons of the Islanders give Nino that chance.”

Q: “To tell the truth, you hope that you can deal with G.Snow’s successor soon.”
A: “I attach importance to the fact that you said so.”

And now for something a little different… Because everyone is connected, six degrees of separation and all that, Matt Martin so happens to be dating Boomer Esiason’s daughter. As it turns out, Sydney Esiason is currently at Boston College and got some attention from Boston’s Tyler Seguin the other day:


So, maybe we’ll see some more :01 fights when the Isles head to Boston on Friday?

Hockey’s back and all of us who thought the fans wouldn’t be were dead wrong. For the Islanders/Devils season opener on Saturday, MSG+ got a 1.0 rating for the broadcast which… is the second highest rated regular season Isles game since MSG began tracking this stuff in 1992. That’s pretty unbelievable. The only higher rated regular season game was a late-season Rangers/Isles game in 2002.

What’s amazing is that a 1.0 rating is through the roof for Islander games. Most of the time, the Islanders are under .4. For more on why that is, you can check out the post I wrote about Isles TV ratings and their irrelevance last year.