Rick DiPietro officially was removed from the injured list on Aug. 1. That seemingly would be a milestone moment for the often injured goaltender of the Islanders -- if only the timing of the move wasn't so curious.
According to NHL rules, the always-looking-to-save-a-buck Isles would have to pay DiPietro's $4.5 million annual salary if he is on the injured list during a lockout. Another work stoppage remains a possibility, with the sides continuing collective bargaining talks for a new CBA throughout the summer.
Interestingly, DiPietro, who has nine years remaining on a landmark 15-year, $67.5 million deal, has been serving on the negotiating committee for the NHL Players' Association during these discussions. Multiple reports have suggested a new agreement might include an amnesty buyout provision, and DiPietro's contract would appear to be an obvious target under such a scenario.
"It's not about me," DiPietro told Newsday in late July. "You have to remember when it comes to any of the CBA stuff -- whether it's competition committee work, whatever it is -- you're not there representing yourself.
"There's 750 guys who you're fighting for, and we're trying to make the best deal there is for all those guys. ... And being able to sit and watch a guy like (union head) Don Fehr work is a privilege.""
As for his health, the 30-year-old former All-Star expects to be ready if/when training camp opens in September. DiPietro has appeared in just 47 games over the last four seasons with injuries to his knees, hips, head and a slew of other body parts, including a season-ending surgery to repair a sports hernia last year.
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