Finally, hockey season begins. Maybe it’s mot what we expected, but the AHL becomes the only relevant hockey for some of us. We now get to watch our favorite NHL team’s affiliates battle until the NHL Lockout ends. I know I’m going to do what I can to watch Bridgeport.
Speaking of relevance, there was some news coming from Long Island this week! Islanders goalie, Rick DiPietro, has signed with SC Riessersee of the 2nd Eishockey-Bundesliga in Germany. I’m sure most Islanders fans are making jokes, and I have seen some of them. I’m sure a few of you also know that I am a Rick DiPietro fan, and I’m sure some Islanders fans will scoff at that notion.
Well, I think I have something to say about this, and it’s something we can all agree on. This is actually a great thing for the Islanders. By great, I mean the Islanders win huge. Let me explain.
Think about it. If Rick DiPietro plays overseas, there are three outcomes for the organization. Rick DiPietro either:
1) Plays, and gets injured.
2) Plays, and plays poorly.
3) Plays, and excels.
If Rick DiPietro plays and gets injured, it’s simple: the Islanders move on. If the NHL lockout ends, Rick will not start on the Islanders roster. The awkward phase of trying to push Rick into a game that is too fast for him will be bypassed. The Islanders won’t have to worry about forcing him onto the ice if the Islanders ever got hot, or trying to let him break a losing skid if we ever got cold. If Rick got hurt, after a full summer of being healthy, then the game is simply too much for him. Rick will start the year (and probably end it) on the IR if he got hurt in Germany, which would mean no rushed DiPietro appearances.
If he plays, stays healthy, but plays poorly, you better believe that will be on the radars of Charles Wang and Garth Snow. Rick would be a back-up at best, and possibly cut loose. Rick DiPietro could even retire if he couldn’t play while healthy. Rick is at the point where he has to earn a roster spot. The only reason why he would even sniff the roster (not his contract) would be because they want to buy Anders Nilsson and Kevin Poulin time in Bridgeport. DiPietro is no longer considered the Islanders starting goalie, although plenty love to joke about it.
If he plays and excels, well, there is no losing in that. I don’t care if it’s Rick DiPietro. I don’t care if it’s Charles Wang’s idea for a sumo-wrestler in goal. If the guy can keep the puck out of the net, he’s a goalie in my eyes. DiPietro, when healthy, was a good one. Once upon a time, even with his frustrating puck-handling decisions, Rick DiPietro was an All-Star goalie. He helped us to the playoffs. He made acrobatic saves, and he had the Coliseum chanting “DP” every night. I mean, I miss the nights where he would shut up those Rangers fans as they were taunting his name. If DP stayed healthy, and excelled in Germany, you would have to say he has a chance to redeem himself. I wish we could see this.
Of course, based off of history, #39 will probably have trouble staying healthy, but who knows. I hope he becomes what he was, but it’s not 2006-07 anymore. It’s also fair to say that the Islanders win no matter what happens in Germany. Save the jokes for now. His play overseas will not affect the Islanders in any negative way. All three scenarios play out as a win for Islanders fans, so let’s see how it plays out. Rick Dipietro is doing himself a favor by finding out if he can still play, and the Islanders a favor by giving them a chance to see what he can do without hurting this team in the standings.Follow @Christriants
Thanks for reading. Feel free to comment!Hockey Independant