Tag:Rick DiPietro
Posted on: October 13, 2011 2:13 pm

Surprise! DiPietro hurt, won't suit for Islanders

By Brian Stubits

So here's one you've never heard before: New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro is hurt and won't suit up for Thursday night's game against the Lightning. We can hear the gasp of shock from across the NHL, particularly Long Island. DiPietro, hurt? Who'd a thunk?

What has sidelined him this time was a puck he took to the facemask during practice.

"He took one high and hard there and it shook him up a little bit," Islanders coach Jack Capuano said. "He looked all right."

Now we don't want to downplay the severity of this too much because at this point, doctors have yet to rule out a concussion, according to Katie Strang of ESPN New York. It's just at the point that DiPietro being injured is what you expect to see.

Al Montoya had seemingly already taken the job as the No. 1 goalie for the Islanders, but DiPietro was backing him up. In his first two games on the season, Montoya has a 1.53 goals against average and a .940 save percentage. He will get the start again Thursday dagainst the Tampa bay Lightning.

One good thing for New York is that they were actually carrying three goalies on the roster, so former Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is around to handle the understudy role.

To say DiPietro, the former No. 1 overall draft selection by the Isles, has been injury prone would be like saying water is wet. He has played a combined 39 games in the last three seasons, an average of 13 games per year. When he has actually played, he has hardly been stellar, too. Last season he played in 26 games and a save percentage of .886. For his career it's at .903.

For a player making $4.5 million per season until the year 2021, it's not exactly what you want -- both production wise and injury wise. Especially when you consider New York shipped out Roberto Luongo a decade ago to make room for DiPietro, and it's all just a little maddening for the Isles and their fans.

It's precisely why DiPietro headed one this list from the Hockey News: the 10 most untradeable contracts. Ouch.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 13, 2011 1:28 pm

Daily Skate: Sabres being careful with Hecht

By Brian Stubits

HECHT OUT: The Buffalo Sabres will be without Jochen Hecht, who suffered a concussion until at least next week as the team is being especially careful with him considering he has a history of concussions. He will be out at least through Saturday's game at Pittsburgh. (Sabres Edge)

GO FISH: Speak of concussions, Capitals GM George McPhee and member of the NHL and NHLPA concussion working group, talked about them recently. Noting that of course you have to be concerned about the players, a non-physical game just isn't as entertaining. “If you go to Europe … it’s not very entertaining. It’s highly skilled, but it’s like trying to watch two guys fish.” (Washington Times)

ROLOSON THANKS SNOW: Dwayne Roloson returns to Long Island to face the Islanders for the first time since he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning last season. And the 42-year-old took the time to say thanks to GM Garth Snow. "When I signed, Garth told me the situation and to his credit he stuck to his word, that when we were out of the playoffs, he would trade me. Very appreciative of what he did" (ESPN New York)

SERGE OF MOTIVATION: The boo birds have found a target of Sergei Gonchar in Ottawa. Unhappy with his performance, the Senators fans have let him know. His coach Paul MacLean suggests he uses it to his advantage. “I’ve been booed, so it’s something that you ... I think it’s a motivator. If your fans are unhappy with how you play, they should express that they’re unhappy with how you play. Conversely, if you play better, they should appreciate that you play better and to me, it’s just a signal that you need to be better.” (Senators Exra

THE UNTOUCHABLES: Here is a list compiled of the 10 most untradeable contracts in the NHL. Not surprisingly it starts with Rick DiPietro. But after seeing Brian Campbell change addresses this summer makes me think in this this era of a salary cap floor, no contract is untradeable. (The Hockey News)

FISHER STORY: Mike Fisher of the Nashville Predators is very open about his strong religious faith. He has said in the past one thing he likes about being in Nashville as opposed to Ottawa is the amount of churches. Last summer he came out with a book Defender of Faith about his story. Here's a little more from Fisher on how it came about. (Predators Insider)

BROTHER BOND: When the Toronto Maple Leafs headed to a military camp for a team-bonding retreat, it made defenseman John-Micheal Liles think of his brother stationed in Washington state with the U.S. Navy. Here's a good story on the strong relationship the brothers have. (Globe and Mail)

STROME SENT DOWN: It's about the time of the season where a lot of the rookies who were getting extended looks out of camp are going to be returned to their junior teams beore contracts kick in. That's what the Islanders did with their first pick in this summer's draft, Ryan Strome. (Islanders team site)

MURPHY TOO: The Carolina Hurricanes did the same with their top pick, sending diminutive Ryan Murphy back to Kitchener of the OHL. In Murphy's case, he had been a healthy scratch in the team's four regular-season games, so it seemed pointless to continue to leave him up. (Hurricanes team site)

GABRIEL'S GOAL: One first-round pick who won't be returning to his junior squad is Colorado Avalanche rookie Gabriel Landeskog. The No. 2 pick in the draft scored his first NHL goal (video below) on Wednesday night in a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, and he talked to Adrian Dater about it afterward. (All Things Avs)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 8, 2011 12:50 pm
Edited on: October 8, 2011 1:03 pm

Islanders to start Montoya over DiPietro, Nabokov

Am1By: Adam Gretz

The Washington Capitals aren't the only team that have a rather surprising opening night starter in the crease. When the Islanders open their regular season schedule on Saturday night against new-look Florida Panthers, it will be Al Montoya filling the net instead of veterans Rick DiPietro or Evgeni Nabokov.

Coach Jack Capuano said, via Newsday's Arthur Staple, that it's a "gut feeling" to go with the 26-year-old Montoya.

He appeared in 21 games last season for the Islanders and played better than anybody could have expected, posting a .921 save percentage and recording one shutout during the stretch run. He was one of six goaltenders to appear in a game for the Islanders last season, and his performance was probably the most surprising given how disappointing his career had been prior to joining the team.

A first-round pick by the Rangers in 2004, he never played a game for the blue shirts before being traded to Phoenix as part of a five-player trade during the 2008 season. The Islanders acquired him back in February after trading Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay and losing a number of other goalies to injury throughout the season. And now he's getting the opening night start, getting the call over the oft-injured DiPietro, who has appeared in just 39 games over the past three seasons, and Nabokov, who the Islanders claimed on waivers last season following his brief stint in the KHL.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: September 27, 2011 11:48 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2011 11:49 pm

Nabokov makes Islanders preseason debut

NabokovBy: Adam Gretz

After spending the 2010-11 season playing in the KHL and sitting in limbo while refusing to report to the New York Islanders, Evgeni Nabokov made his preseason debut for the team on Tuesday night, stopping 15 of the 16 shots he faced in two periods of play during their 2-0 loss to the Calgary Flames.

Last summer Nabokov signed a four-year, $24 million deal with SKA St. Petersburg of the KHL after spending 10 productive seasons with the San Jose Sharks. His KHL experience proved to be a disappointing one, posting a .888 save percentage in 22 appearances (by comparison: the other two goalies on his team were both over .900 for the season) before he and the team mutually parted ways in December.

At that point Nabokov attempted to make a return to the NHL, signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings. Because he had spent part of the season playing overseas he had to pass through waivers before he could play for Detroit, and the Islanders, in desperate need of a goaltender after a series of trades (Dwayne Roloson) and injuries, put a claim in for him. Nabokov ultimately refused to report and didn't play again in 2011.

He later said that his decision to not join the Islanders had nothing to do with his unwillingness to play for the team, and more to do with the fact that he hadn't skated in nearly two months and didn't feel he could help the team in what was -- at that time -- a playoff push.

Here's what he told Newsday prior to training camp:
“What made me make that decision is that I hadn’t skated for a month-and-a-half when they claimed me. They were out of the playoffs, but battling to get in and, as a goalie, I know the goalie position is important when fighting for position [in the standings],” Nabokov said. “I didn’t feel that I could help them to get to the playoffs. I needed three to four weeks to get ready and the season would’ve been over.”

“I was not feeling the strongest and Detroit was in a totally different position,” Nabokov said. “They were going to the playoffs and willing to wait. The Islanders needed help then.”

Still under contract with the Islanders, he reported to camp this season and is competing for a roster spot to go along with the oft-injured Rick DiPietro.

He finally made his first appearance on Tuesday, and for the most part things went well playing behind a roster that dressed few NHL regulars and a number of prospects and minor leaguers. He did allow a shorthanded goal to Curtis Glencross at the 4:10 mark of the second period, but stopped every other shot he faced on the night.

The most frustrating part of his performance, if you're an Islanders fan, is that he seemed to make things more difficult for himself and his teammates by turning the puck over on a number of occassions, especially in the first period, while attempting to play it.

It should be interesting to see what plans the Islanders have for Nabokov. Will he compete for the No. 1 job with DiPietro? Will they look to use him as a chip in the trading market? Or will they go with him as DiPietro's backup as a veteran insurance policy in case of an injury? Either way, Tuesday night was a promising start.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: August 19, 2011 6:00 pm
Edited on: August 19, 2011 6:05 pm

Debating which 80s dynasty returns first


By: Adam Gretz and Brian Stubits

Even though they've struggled in recent years, the Edmonton Oilers and New York Islanders were the two most dominant teams in the NHL during the 1980s. Adam Gretz and Brian Stubits debate which one of these franchises with promising young talent returns to glory first.

Adam Gretz: The Edmonton Oilers and the New York Islanders were the two most dominant teams of the 1980s. How dominant? Between 1980 and 1990 they combined to win nine of the 11 Stanley Cups, with Edmonton winning five (and owning the last half of the decade) and the Islanders winning four (and owning the first half of the decade). Recently the two teams have fallen on some tougher times. Both teams are looking for new buildings, and postseason success has been few and far between, as have actual trips to the postseason. The Islanders haven't won a playoff series since 1993 with only four playoff appearances since then, while Edmonton, outside of its Stanley Cup Final trip in 2005-06, hasn't advanced past the first round since 1998.

I don't think, at this point, either one of these teams are a playoff team right now, but which one do you think returns to glory first? Or is closest?

Brian Stubits: I'm not convinced the Islanders aren't a playoff team this year. They will be in contention to the end is my guess at this point. I am really liking the nucleus they are putting together. As for Edmonton, I don't see a team that's ready to battle for the playoffs yet. In their rebuilding phases, I think the Isles are ahead of the Oilers, as you would expect considering they had a slight head start in the bad seasons department.

Gretz: I think the Islanders might be closer (or more likely) to simply earning a playoff spot this season because the Eastern Conference is probably a bit easier for them to potentially sneak in than the Western Conference is for Edmonton. But I still like Edmonton's group of forwards and think, at this point, they have a bit more upside, especially with back-to-back No. 1 overall picks in Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Hall looks like he's on his way to being a player, and assuming Nugent-Hopkins becomes the player he's expected to become, that's quite a core. Add in players Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi and, heck, even an older (relatively speaking, as he's still only 28) player like Ales Hemsky who is close to a point-per-game player when he's healthy (and that always seems to be the key for him) and that's an impressive group. You win with impact players, and Edmonton has quite a few impact players up front.

Stubits: We think they have impact players. Hall and Nugent-Hopkins have a long way to go to get to that level. I agree, it looks like the Oilers are future impact players, but there are no guarantees of that, especially seeing as though Nugent-Hopkins hasn't skated in an NHL game yet. Don't forget the Islanders have been drafting high, including getting the No. 1 spot themselves in recent years. John Tavares is showing he too has a bright future ahead of him, leading the team in points last season with 67. The Isles had six players total more than any Oiler, who were led by Jordan Eberle at 43 points. But New York has a trio of 30-goal scorers now (well, 29-plus) in Tavares (29 last season), Michael Grabner (34 goals) and Matt Moulson (31). Plus, the organization feels like they drafted a winner in Ryan Strome earlier this summer. I know you remember his skills, Adam, considering this post you put up. There is impact on the island, too.

Gretz: Yes, potential impact, that's obviously what I meant. I mean, a lot of this is talking about upside and projection because both teams are dealing with potential and question marks. The one thing I will say is both teams seem to have some concerns on the back end with their defense and goaltending. The Islanders are locked into Rick DiPietro for what seems like forever, while the Oilers have Nikolai Khabibulin and a bunch of question marks behind him. Devan Dubynk was a first-round pick back in 2004, and had a solid sophomore campaign last season, but no matter which guy is between the pipes, the defense in front of them is going to struggle this year. It needs a serious upgrade.

Again, I don't expect the Oilers to be a playoff team this season (in fact, they'll probably be near the bottom of the conference again, which could lead to another potential impact player in the 2012 draft, which will only help the future -- and yes, eventually you want to stop picking at the top of the draft), but that's not really what I'm looking for here: I'm looking at which team becomes a true contender for the Stanley Cup, not just simply making the playoffs, and I just think their core group of forwards offers a bit more potential and upside and the ability to help turn a franchise around than the Islanders core.

Stubits: I think you might be underrating the Islanders' organizational depth. In July, puckprospectus.com proclaimed the Islanders the second best in talent in the system, highlighting Kiril Kabonov and Matt Donovan in addition to recent draft picks Strome and Scott Mayfield. I understand the concerns in net, but this is a team that has one luxury: it has three goaltenders on the payroll that there's a decent chance one of them can be good enough to play behind an improving and maturing defense.

The team's biggest obstacle right now isn't cultivating talent, it's being appealing to free agents. A team can usually build the core of it's franchise through the draft, but it's the final free-agent and trade pieces that put a team over the top. Until the Isles get their arena situation squared away, that won't happen. Nobody wants to make a commitment to an organization that they don't know its whereabouts in four years. The sooner they can resolve this issue, the better, because I believe they have a very nice foundation at this point to win. As already stated, I think the Islanders will be a borderline playoff team this year, and by following logic they grow from there. It's a very young roster. That's why I like them to get back to that elite level first, they should continue to grow together and I think there are some very talented prospects in there.

Gretz: Yes, the Islanders certainly have a strong group, and you may be right that I'm underrating what they have, but I guess at the end of the day, for me, it simply comes down to thinking the Oilers players (particularly Hall and Nugent-Hopkins as top overall picks) have a bit more upside, and we've seen with other teams how much of an impact two young players like that can make. Granted, they need the complementary players around them and an upgrade on defense, but I still really like what Edmonton is building up front and the potential they have. Maybe not this year, but soon.

Stubits: Not that I have any reason to whatsoever, but I feel like Garth Snow has built himself a solid enough core. It's shocking to type that. I guess we'll find out in a couple of years.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey, @agretz and @brianstubitsNHL on Twitter.
Posted on: August 13, 2011 1:17 pm
Edited on: August 13, 2011 4:33 pm

Islanders to hold viewing party to rewatch brawl

IslandersBrawlBy: Adam Gretz

One of the highlights of the 2010-11 New York Islanders season was a 9-3 dismantling of the Pittsburgh Penguins in mid-February. The good news was the Islanders blew out a division rival, scored nine goals and sent a message to a team that had embarrassed them during the previous meeting (that was the game Penguins Brent Johnson fought, and injured, Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro).

The bad news is that game was also the one that featured a series of ugly moments (including Trevor Gillies elbow on Eric Tangradi and Gillies yelling at him from the tunnel, Matt Martin's sucker punch on Max Talbot, Penguins enforcer Eric Godard leaving the bench to join a fight, Michael Haley and Johnson fighting), and saw the two teams combine for 342 penalty minutes and many ejections.

In the aftermath the NHL issued a number of suspensions, including nine games for Gillies and 10 games for Godard (which was automatic for leaving the bench to join a fight), while the Islanders organization was also fined $100,000 by the NHL. The Penguins, meanwhile, were furious that the NHL didn't do enough.

It was madness.

Why is this news again now in the middle of August? Because the Islanders organization has announced plans to hold a viewing party to watch a replay of the game on August 19.

Here's the invite from the Islanders official website:
The night of February 11, 2011 was memorable for Isles fans. Whether you were in the stands at the Coliseum or watching on TV, you were on your feet through all the ruckus cheering for the Islanders to beat the Penguins. On Friday August 19th, MSG Plus will re-air the game and we want the fans to join us for a viewing party at Champions. Same awesome deal as usual, raffles, prizes and more. RSVP now and remember to there early and get a table with your friends. Stay tuned to #Isles and #IslesMeetup for all the latest and for more information.
It was certainly a memorable game, but mostly for the wrong reasons. The party has already sparked some controversy from Penguins fans and impartial observers. Right or wrong, fighting is a part of the hockey culture, and is often times celebrated (heck, think of the events during a hockey game that bring fans out of their seats: goals and fights), and yes, I myself do enjoy watching two heavyweights drop the gloves to a mutually agreed upon bout.

But should the Islanders -- or any team -- be celebrating an event that the NHL deemed bad enough to suspend two of their players for a combined 13 games and fine the organization six figures? Even though times have been rough in recent years for the Islanders franchise, they do have some players in their young core that are worth being excited about. This just seems a bit odd coming from an organization that used to celebrate Stanley Cups.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com