THE MORNING SKATE — Sound Tigers Win, Then Islanders Win in OT

Kevin Schultz

This is the fun in a pre-season scrimmage; the Sound Tigers won 5-3 in regulation but by the time the shootout was all over, the Islanders had clawed their way back to win 6-5. It’s all fun and wacky arithmetic when the game doesn’t mean anything in the standings.

The funny thing about this particular game is you could tell a little bit about who was in game shape and who had extra motivation. The Sound Tigers for the most part had both of those things, as they’re in the middle of the season and if you were on that roster, you didn’t get a camp invite (save for the two junior invitees). One particular player who skated like a bat out of hell was Nino Niederreiter. Newsday found Nino after the game:

“Of course I was disappointed, but I’ve learned that there are things you cannot control and you can’t worry about those,” Niederreiter said after scoring a nifty goal for the Sound Tigers in the scrimmage with the Isles . “I promised myself I wouldn’t get frustrated about those things this year. All I can control is what I do on the ice.”

So there are guys with NHL contracts who haven’t been in a game situation in eight months and guys who are a bit more motivated and have been on a bus to different AHL games three times a week. Some players are going to have a bit more jump than others. They also switched the goalies in the middle of the game, so don’t read too much into the score. Save the judgement for Saturday, because that’s when this stuff gets real.

The Devils signed Travis Zajac to an eight year deal yesterday, the maximum allowable under the new CBA (I guess Lamoriello hasn’t figure out the loopholes yet). Zajac will earn $48 million over those eight years. Statistically speaking, he’s been a .5ppg player throughout his career, with two breakout seasons of 62 and 67 points in his six-years of NHL service. Zajac will earn $6 million per year.

Why do I bring up a Devil? For comparison, John Tavares will make $5.5 million per year on his contract extension. And, as he will likely be a 1ppg player, Tavares will outscore Zajac by quite a bit. That Tavares contract looks really good right now.

If this is some kind of subliminal marketing from the Islanders, it’s working.

Photo via Isles TV

Photo via Isles TV

Howie Rose on the new season: