Addressing the biggest topic since we started this thing and the constant requests for my thoughts on goaltender Rick DiPietro…
Personally, I would lay off the brutal shots at DiPietro about swollen head, body of glass and all the other nonsense. He’s an athlete going through hell, no matter what you may think of his compensation. If the Islanders have made any major mistakes here…if…they are not DiPietro’s.
If you hate the contract, remember that DiPietro didn’t sign himself to it. If the NYI are fortunate to get John Tavares, you can only hope Islanders Country doesn’t lose any sleep wondering if JT will ever commit to your franchise and your community past age 30 – or even his first shot at unrestricted free agency.
This stuff about DiPietro not really being all-that-great, whoever said he achieved greatness yet? But – leaving the Islanders out of it for now – are the men on the committee that named him the No. 1 goalie for Team USA at the Olympics a bunch of idiots? Is Long Island favorite Peter Laviolette only a moron when it comes to DiPietro? What about the NHLers that named him to the All-Star team last season?
Silly suburban legends about the goalie getting involved in personnel – Dubie or my favorite, Arron Asham (!) – are just that. Carl Pavano references? Pathetic. DiPietro got hurt playing the game, is relentless in his rehab sessions and has the full respect of his teammates. But yes, they are both Italian and women tend to love them. Hmmm, maybe there’s something there.
Despite Scott Gordon’s efforts to try and tell everyone what is a story and what is not, Rick DiPietro is his team’s biggest story. Before DiPietro was hurt, he was the Islanders’ best player by a large margain. Should he be ready to play the Islanders’ next important game – the season opener in October – he likely will still be the Islanders’ best player. Even with some of the haters on blogs and message boards, DiPietro remains by far the team’s most popular player.
There’s something about New York and the near-contempt some of us seem to have for athletes who suffer injuries or fall short of winning a ring. Who knows where that comes from? I do know it’s not one of our better traits. Rick DiPietro: the only hockey player on a 12-26-4 team with the appeal to draw lines twice around a mall for an autograph signing. Hmmm, maybe there’s something there. I won’t even get into his dedication to local charities.
As just about everyone predicted before the season, the Islanders are going through pain, and so are their fans. As the team sits in 30th place, and as DiPietro’s recovery period has become a disaster, this is an admittedly distasteful time for a blogger to suggest to the ticket-buyers how to feel about a player. But the tendency of many to vent frustration at the best and most dedicated player they have is unfortunate, twisted, wrong.
Discuss. Oh, this should be something. Respect. Guidelines.