The New York Islanders don't have a whole lot to be excited about these days. Through the first three games of the 2010-11 season they've gone a pedestrian 1-1-1. They've seen 26-year-old defenseman James Wisniewski suspended for two games for inappropriately gesturing towards New York Rangers forward Sean Avery, and the one star player who was suppose to lead them all back to relevance is sidelined with a concussion.
But wait, maybe there is somebody else. Somebody who can shoulder the load, if not points-wise, then at least hope-wise, until Tavares is back on the ice. On Wednesday night Nino Niederreiter became the youngest New York Islander to ever score a goal.
Just weeks removed from his 18th birthday, Niederreiter out of Switzerland via the WHL has arrived. Perhaps better known for being the recipient of the Mike Cammalleri slash that earned the Montreal Canadiens forward a one game suspension, Niederreiter is charged with the task of helping an injury-depleted Isles roster survive the first month of the season.
The Bodog Sportsbook currently gives New York some 100/1 odds of winning the 2011 Stanley Cup. With Tavares out, and joined by forward Kyle Okposo and defenseman Mark Streit, the pessimism isn't unjustified. Even with a healthy line up, the Islanders would be hard pressed to find their way into the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
When Niederreiter scored his goal last night, the only Islanders goal in a 2-1 loss to the Washington Capitals, it was a reminder that even a broken clock is right twice a day. And even though they aren't likely going to host the Stanley Cup in June, they could be reasonable bets in the occasional individual regular season game.