Where In The World Is Nino Niederreiter?

Twitter is a friendly application that many people use all over the world, whether it be for media purposes, to keep tabs on your favorite celebrities and athletes, to keep in touch with friends, or simply to say every little thing that shoots across your mind and at any point of the day.

Yesterday it was used by top Islanders prospect, Nino Niederreiter to answer a question that has been on the minds of almost every fan for the past three games. Although the tweet is no longer available as it has since been deleted, Niederreiter stated something along the lines of "I don't know" in regards to everyone's question: why has Nino Niederreiter been a healthy scratch?

Nino Niederreiter (Robert Kowal/Flickr)The 6'2 sniper is coming off his best year with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL and is a player that might be able to help the Isles offensive woes. However, the year started off with a groin injury that kept him out for the start of the season as he only made his NHL debut about two weeks ago against the New York Rangers. But after the Isles 6-0 loss to the Boston Bruins, Nino hasn't seen the ice. 

It was speculated that perhaps his groin was starting to bother him again, but that has basically perceived to not be the case. There hasn't been any mentioning of a lack of work ethic in Niederreiter's game or the sense that he will be demoted; the general feel is that everyone wants him to play. But all that has been been said lately is, "I don't know."

Although I cannot confirm that the Islanders had Niederreiter delete his tweet, it would be an understandable maneuver on their part if that were to be true. The organization's plans are for the young forward should be kept between those involved and not a fan base that is frustrated and salivating at the opportunity to release their angst after a rough 6-11-4 start to the year. 

Hockey Independent's B.D. Gallof speculates that it could be another motivational ploy to get Niederreiter's best game out of him right away. So far it has worked well for Kyle Okposo who scored his first two goals of the season in his second game back after being scratched for three games in a row. 

The other possibility is that Islanders General Manager Garth Snow is looking to shake things up with his roster and might want to be playing certain individuals over others in order to shop them around the league. He has already made one move by placing Blake Comeau on waivers for him to be picked up by the Calgary Flames. Comeau lacked any trade value after going pointless all season long, but there are other players on this team who are struggling but are in a better position to be dealt than Comeau was with his waiver situation.

Many were quick to criticize that Nino's tweet displays a lack of communication between the front office, coaching staff and it's players. But if you were a manager of a team that knows about the perils of twitter and online connections, would you risk sharing information that could be grabbed by other teams? Imagine if a deal that Snow had been working on was revealed in a tweet by someone from within and another team swooped up the coveted player with a better offer? The New York Islanders, despite what many want to believe, know what they are doing. There is always a method to the madness; it just might not always be the result that everyone is hoping to see. 

But whatever the reason may be, most will agree that the kid needs to play in order to develop and I expect that we will be seeing El Nino back in an Islanders jersey sooner rather than later.

But until then, all that can be said is I don't know.

-Rob McGowan