Posted on: January 13, 2012 5:55 pm
Edited on: January 13, 2012 6:11 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Rick DiPietro is going to have yet another season cut short due to injury.
The Islanders goaltender will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a sports hernia, a procedure that is likely to end his season. He appeared in just eight games for New York this year.
Dating back to the start of the 2008-09 he's appeared in just 48 games for the Islanders. Obviously, this is nothing new for DiPietro in what has been a promising career that has been absolutely dismantled by injuries.
New York made an enourmous financial commitment to DiPietro prior to the 2006-07 season, giving him a 15-year contract worth $67.5 million. Since then it's been nothing but one set back after another, and as of now still he still has nine years and over $40 million remaining on his contract.
At this point the only way the Islanders would ever be able to get out of that commitment would be if DiPietro would at some point retire, and according to Arthur Staple of Newsday, that's something that DiPietro hasn't even thought about at this point.
The Islanders made DiPietro the top pick in the 2000 draft, the same day they shipped another former first-round goalie, Roberto Luongo, off to the Florida Panthers (along with Olli Jokinen) in exchange for Oleg Kvasha and Mark Parrish, a sequence of events that, obviously, had a rather large impact on the franchise.
In 315 games DiPietro has a 130-133-36 record to go with a .903 save percentage.
Along with DiPietro, the Islanders have had a pretty incredible run of bad luck at the goalie position over the past two years. Due to injuries and an in-season trade they had to use six different goalies a year ago, and so far this season have already used five: DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov, Al Montoya, Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson.
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Posted on: December 15, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 3:22 pm
That's the news. I have run out of jokes for this. Heck, comedians by trade probably would have no more material on it. This guy has been hurt in seemingly every way a goalie can be and has very few parts of the body that haven't caused him to miss time in his career.
But the good news in it all is that the Islanders have Al Montoya to handle the goaltending duties. He's been the best of the Isles' three goalies this season (the other being Evgeni Nabokov), so on the ice the story doesn't impact the Islanders all that much.
I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that DiPietro is injury prone. He puts Samuel L. Jackson's character in the awful movie Unbreakable to shame. With this visit to the IR, it's the second trip there already this season for DiPietro. A concussion put him on the list for a couple weeks earlier this season.
DiPietro, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Islanders in the 2000 draft, has only played more than 26 games in four of his 10 seasons in the NHL, but he's on the Isles payroll for another 10 seasons at $4.5 million per season. So he has a long time to try and put together another full schedule, but you really wonder if his body will ever allow that to happen again.
It's easy to want to laugh at DiPietro's injury misfortunes over the years, especially for Islanders fans. It's a lot better than crying for them. But I don't think even the Islanders haters want to see the guy continue to get injured.
It just always seems like a foregone conclusion.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: November 21, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 1:05 pm
By: Adam Gretz
With veteran goalies Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya sidelined with injuries at the present time, and Rick DiPietro coming off a bad performance against the Boston Bruins that saw him allow three goals in the first period on Saturday, Islanders head coach has decided to start rookie Anders Nilsson between the pipes when his team takes on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night.
That's a tall task for the 21-year-old rookie in what will surely be a crazed atmosphere in Pittsburgh.
Nilsson has appeared in just one NHL game, and that was on Saturday in relief of DiPietro. He allowed three goals on 17 shots.
He was called up from the Islanders AHL team in Bridgeport over the weekend following the injuries to Nabokov and Montoya. In seven games in the minor leagues this season he posted a 5-2 record to go with a .908 save percentage. Nilsson was a third-round pick by the Islanders back in 2009, and prior to this season had spent the past four year playing professionally in Sweden for Lulea HF.
In 33 career games against the Islanders Crosby has recorded 62 points (18 goals, 44 assists). The only other team that he's recorded that many points against is the Philadelphia Flyers (62) in three more games.
Posted on: November 19, 2011 11:12 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 11:34 pm
By: Adam Gretz
Things are not going well for the New York Islanders right now, and after losing to the Boston Bruins, 6-0, in their own barn on Saturday night the team has now lost 11 of its past 13 games to fall to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. The offense has disappeared, two of their three goalies that opened the season on the NHL roster are injured, and one of their top young players, Kyle Okposo, has been a healthy scratch three nights in a row.
All of this, combined with the losing, seems to have head coach Jack Capuano a little upset, as we could see during his post-game press conference on Saturday.
"My thoughts are that when you play this game you need to play with fire, you need to play with passion, you need to play with determination, you need to play with desperation, you need to have ice bags after the game, maybe a little blood dripping right now," said Capuano. "When you lace your skates up the guy across from you, the guy to the left and right of you, need to know you got their back and we're going to play for one another, and that just didn'thappen tonight, and I don't have the answers why."
When asked if it was execution or effort that was the problem on Saturday, he responded that it was "a little bit of both," before adding: "Enough about staying positive and we're going to get through this. You have to work. If you saw our team play at the second half of last year you saw passion, you saw physicality. That's what you need to win hockey games in the National Hockey League every night, and right now, collectively, we are not doing that and you're not going to have success."
The Islanders are off on Sunday before traveling to Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins on Monday.
Here's the rest of Capuano's post-game presser:
Posted on: November 18, 2011 11:06 pm
Edited on: November 19, 2011 11:05 am
By: Adam Gretz
There doesn't appear to be a team in the NHL that goes through more goaltenders than the New York Islanders.
Once the team with too many this season, rotating Rick DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya in and out of the lineup, New York now finds itself in a situation where it doesn't have enough goalies for Saturday's game against Boston.
After it was announced on Friday that veteran Nabokov will be out indefinitely with a groin injury, the team later revealed that Montoya is day-to-day with a strained hamstring. And suddenly DiPietro, of all people, is the only healthy one on the roster.
Montoya has arguably been their best goaltender this season but has been limited in his playing time over the past month, appearing in just two games since Oct. 20. For the season he's recorded a .926 save percentage after posting a .921 mark in his 18 starts for the team last season.
Nabokov has appeared in eight games and has twice had to leave his starts early due to injury, including a game in Pittsburgh earlier this month that saw him exit after the overtime period and before the shootout. He played just seven minutes on Thursday night in what turned out to be a 4-3 Islanders win.
With Nabokov and Montoya currently sidelined, it's possible, if not likely, that Kevin Poulin will be called up from their AHL team in Bridgeport. Poulin appeared in 10 games last season.
Being forced to use multiple goalies isn't a new experience for the Islanders, as they went through six during the 2010-11 campaign: DiPietro, Montoya, Poulin, Nathan Lawson, Dwayne Roloson and Mikko Koskinen. Since the start of the 2008-09 season 11 different goalies have made an appearance for the team.
Posted on: October 27, 2011 10:46 pm
By: Adam Gretz
PITTSBURGH -- Rick DiPietro probably wasn't planning on making his 2011-12 debut the way he did on Thursday night during the Islanders' 3-2 shootout loss to the Penguins.
Starting the game on the bench as the backup to Evgeni Nabokov, DiPietro was called into action following the overtime period and had to enter the game, nearly three hours after he was last on the ice for pre-game warmups, to face the Penguins shooters in the tie-breaking skills competition.
Anytime a goaltender has to enter the game off the bench it's not really an ideal situation. Being thrown directly into the shootout for your first appearance of the season, and first appearance in an NHL game since last April, has to make it even more difficult. DiPietro stopped two of the three shots he faced, with Evgeni Malkin finding an open spot along the ice under his pad for the only goal of the shootout.
The move wasn't done for any strategic reason, as Islanders head coach Jack Capuano said Nabokov was dealing with some "fatigue."
Later, Nabokov said he was dealing with a "lower body injury" that he started to feel sometime during the first period and that as the game went on "fatigue" started to become an issue and he didn't have as much power.
"Nabby was fatigued and wasn't feeling well so I had to put Rick in," said Capuano. "I love our goalies, all three of them have played well and given us a chance so I have no issues. If one guy couldn't go, I have all the faith in Rick, and Rick was great. Actually he almost had Malkin's shot. But, you know, if you don't score in the shootout you're not going to win."
He wouldn't go into much detail as to what happened to Nabokov, who stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced through regulation and overtime. Throughout his career with San Jose Nabokov had some struggles in the shootout, and when asked if he was uncomfortable with the shootout and whether or not that went into his decision to make the switch Capuano insisted it had nothing to do with that.
"No, no, no," said Capuano. "I'm not going to get into it, he just couldn't go. So Ricky went in. Nabby's not one of those guys that feels uncomfortable. None of our goalies feel uncomfortable in situations like that. They're all great competitors and since the start of the season they've given us a chance to win."
DiPietro didn't have much to say following the game, only saying that it was unfortunate the team couldn't get the win.
Posted on: October 15, 2011 11:35 am
Edited on: October 15, 2011 11:56 am
By: Adam Gretz
Even though Al Montoya played extremely well through the first three games of the season for the New York Islanders, picking up where he left off in the second half of last season, it will be Evgeni Nabokov, and not Montoya, getting the start in net on Saturday night against the New York Rangers.
It will be Nabokov's first regular season appearance for the Islanders after being claimed on waivers last season, and his first appearance in a regular season NHL game since April 10, 2010, when he stopped 27 shots as a member of the San Jose Sharks in a shootout win against the Phoenix Coyotes. His last NHL appearance was a playoff game against Chicago in May, 2010.
If you're not familiar with Nabokov's journey to this point, a brief summary: after spending a decade with the Sharks, he signed a four-year contract in the KHL following the 2009-10 season to play with SKA St. Petersburg. The two sides mutually parted ways just months into the first year of the contract, and Nabokov attempted to return to the NHL by signing a one-year deal with the Red Wings. Because he had already played in Russia during the season he had to clear waivers, where the Islanders eventually claimed him. Nabokov didn't report to the team until this season.
And that brings us to today. Given that he's 36 and hasn't played in a real NHL game in a year-and-a-half it's obviously a mystery as to how much rust he'll have to shake off when pucks start flying at him. He did play for the Islanders during the preseason, but it's difficult to get any sort of read based on that, not only because it's such a small sampling of games, but also because the level of competition isn't what he'll be facing (or playing behind) on Saturday.
Nabokov has spent the Islanders' first three games sitting behind Montoya, who posted a 2-1 record and a .953 save percentage, allowing just four goals on the 85 shots he faced. Still, most NHL teams like to get their No. 2 goalie a start early in the season. After Saturday's game the Islanders don't play again until Thursday.
On Friday it was reported the Islanders other goalie, Rick DiPietro, would be sidelined indefinitely due to a concussion.
Photo: Getty Images
Posted on: October 14, 2011 12:37 pm
Edited on: November 18, 2011 2:50 pm
At what point do you begin to feel sorry for Rick DiPietro? I mean, if there were ever a goalie that fit the old saying "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all" it's him.
The injury-riddled goaltender for the Islanders is out again. He did not dress in the Islanders' romping of the Tampa Bay Lightning 7-1 on Thursday night after taking a puck to the head in practice the day before. On Friday the team announced he's going to be out for longer as he suffered a concussion on the play. There is no timetable for his return.
As we have learned, there's no idea to know how long it will be until DiPietro might play again. Concussions are finnicky that way.
"You feel for him. The last couple of years it's been a lot for him," Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist said when asked about his fellow New York-area netminder. "When you are hurt that much it's also really tough on you mentally to all the time having to start over and rehab"
Yesterday we detailed some of the struggles that DiPietro has undergone. In the past three seasons, he has played in only 39 games. For the non-math whizzes out there, that's only 13 games per season. When you consider he has a contract for $4.5 million a year (that runs through 2021), that's nearly $350,000 per game played in that time.
Good thing the Islanders were carrying three goalies on their roster, huh? Al Montoya was a somewhat surprising opening-night starter, but he has been terrific in the Islanders' three games, giving up a total of four goals. There's a completely capable backup behind him in veteran Evgeni Nabokov.
I don't know about you, but I feel for the guy and am almost at the point of rooting for DiPietro. The expectations on him were placed mighty high when New York drafted him No. 1 overall, made room for him by sending out Roberto Luongo and then gave him a monstrous contract.
His injury woes are almost beyond jokes at this point. The way I see it, I'd like to see DiPietro remain healthy long enough to play extended time. If he falls flat on his face then, that's on him. But I'd just like to see him get the chance one way or the other.
Photo: Getty Images