prior to the Islanders game on Saturday, April 2, versus the Carolina Hurricanes.
In each of the last 19 seasons, New York Islanders fans have selected one Islanders player to receive the Bob Nystrom Award for his leadership, hustle and dedication to the game. This season, that award was presented by Nystrom to
“It’s something I’m proud of,” Nielsen said. “I’ve always tried to be a guy that competes hard every night, so it’s awesome that the fans see that.”
|Frans Nielsen #51 of the New York Islanders receives the Bobby Nystrom award prior to a game against the Carolina Hurricanes on April 2, 2011 at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York. (Photo by Mike Stobe/NHLI via Getty Images) |
Nielsen added, “Bobby (Nystrom) was definitely a guy that worked hard every night, competed hard and played hard. So it’s pretty awesome to get that. When I looked at the trophy after, I realized there are some pretty good names on it too. It’s nice to be recognized with them.”
In the past, the 26-year-old from Denmark has been a player who flies under the radar, but that wasn’t the case this season. Many fans recognize the significance of his time on the penalty kill as well as his league leading seven shorthanded goals. Those seven goals tie Bob Bourne for the Islanders franchise record, set more than 30 years ago.
As a result, Islanders interim head coach Jack Capuano wasn’t surprised to hear that Nielsen, who took on more of a leadership role this season (wearing the ‘A’ on his sweater since Dec. 13), has earned the much deserved recognition from fans.
“When you talk about desire, determination and desperation, those are all things that Frans does,” Capuano said. “He plays in all situations and he’s just one of those guys that takes a lot of pride in his game, especially from the defensive side. It doesn’t surprise me, with the shorthanded goals he had this, because he takes a lot of pride on his faceoffs and his penalty kill.”
Nielsen, who was drafted by the Islanders in 2002, has played five fewer games than he did last season, but still recorded career-highs in goals (13), assists (31), points (44) and plus/minus rating (+13).
“He’s another guy that practices as hard as he plays,” Capuano said. “He does all the right things. That’s all you can ask for as a coaching staff and as teammates.”