Without a doubt, we come to another of the guys on the New York Islander roster who will cause a near riot among Isles fans when it comes to discussing him. He’s a guy you certainly want to like and you can’t help rooting for, yet you also cannot help feeling a tremendous amount of frustration and annoyance over as well.
It is a difficult situation when you have a guy who demonstrated so much promise and who signed a very long term contract end up with the kind of injury plagued seasons Ricky has experienced. It surely cannot be an easy thing for him to have to have dealt with, and as an Islanderr fan, it has often been pure torture. Will he come back, will he play the same, and will he stay healthy, are 3 questions that understandably surround the conversation when you talk about DP.To me, it’s a bit unfair to try to “grade” Rick DiPietro’s 2011-2012 season. He only played in 8 games and started just 6. His season was filled with a bunch of fluke injuries, including a concussion he received in practice, as well as additional issues with his knee. It was just a season I’m sure he’d like to forget, and one that caused fireworks in Islander country at times, and I don’t mean the good kinds either.
Nevertheless, I offer you a few of the “blind observations” that come to mind when I think of his season in review:
• OK, let’s be honest, a 3.73 GAA is not going to win you a starting spot on an NHL team roster.
• Maybe it is just me, but I can recall too many times in which goals were scored against him right off of face-offs. Is it lack of concentration or slow reflexes?
• Similarly, much was said about his lateral movement. The point was made in numerous places that he just isn’t move side to side like he used to. This, again, is not a good situation for a goaltender.
• Without a doubt, Rick DiPietro is a class act. Let’s not overlook that because that trait, to me, is just as important in a team player.
• With Al Montoya no longer in the fold, it’s going to be a very important training camp for Ricky.
• I offer no grade for him. I just don’t think he played enough to be judged fairly.
It has also been “suggested” that the Islanders should have DP start any comeback attempts in Bridgeport and, thus, earn his way back onto the Islanders. I will say flat out that I like the guy a lot, his attitude has always impressed me, and I honestly still want the very best to happen to him. Nevertheless, spending a little time at the Port and working off the rust and sharpening his skills does seem like a reasonable approach. Big contract or not, it will only serve the team better if a healthy Rick DiPietro, who has gotten a bunch of starts under his belt, rejoins the club to start any games next season.
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