This is DiPietro’s New Mask
Join Point Blank on the Interadio: I’ll be on with the incredible Alex and Steve on “Hockey Night on Long Island” at 3:00 pm TODAY. Alex and Steve went to high school in Plainview with my equally-overachieving nephew, are currently freshmen in college, have hosted this show for years and will probably dominate Islanders coverage as professionals by the end of this decade – if not sooner. Listen to the show here. I’m told they will take calls for people to ask me questions or yell at me or whatever. Should be fun.
Late last night I received tweets from pals James Mirtle of the Globe & Mail and Scott Morrison of Hockey Night in Canada pointing out the brilliant performance by Buffalo’s Tyler Myers. The Sabres’ rookie defenseman had two goals, one assist, two blocked shots and a team-high 24:48 of icetime in his team’s 3-2 win over Toronto. Yes, it is true: if you didn’t have Myers ahead of John Tavares three weeks ago on your Calder chart, now there can be no argument. Matt Duchene, too. Still, the season is only a little more than half-over.
Tavares does not have a point in his last seven games. He has one point – a slam dunk goal off a perfect feed from Blake Comeau in Toronto on Dec. 23 – over his last 13 games. He’s also minus-9 in that span.
Is there any cause for alarm here? No. Any doubt Tavares is going to be a significant NHL star? None. That doesn’t mean the Islanders won’t ignore his proper development.
Short of a breakout, two-goal game in Phoenix, a game off on Tuesday could help John. He’d get to watch the Red Wings’ stars – the ones still standing, of course – in a Coliseum suite. By missing Tuesday, Tavares would also get a full week between games.
Courtesy of Twitter must-follow statman Eric Hornick, Rick DiPietro has a three-game assist streak…with each assist occuring in a different calendar year.
The goalie was every bit as rusty as you could expect last night, but he wasn’t helped by a lineup in which half his teammates had poor games. No reason why Scott Gordon can’t give a little shake to the lineup against the Coyotes. Maybe they’ll even take Sean Bergenheim off IR. Nah…
Next start for DiPietro? Try next Saturday at home vs. Buffalo or two days later against New Jersey. Dwayne Roloson deserves the start Tuesday at home against the Red Wings.
One thing is for certain: Richard DiPietro is good for blog ratings. Welcome back, kid. Stay healthy.
Final Thoughts: If the Islanders send Andrew MacDonald to Bridgeport to unclog their roster, they would be making the easy decision and their team weaker instead of, you know, showing proper management and making tougher decisions. MacDonald was +1 and played another 20 minutes last night. Brendan Witt played 11 minutes last night, Bruno Gervais 15. Again, if you want to know what a coach thinks of his players, go to the icetime column.
Way to go to 20-year-old Joshua Bailey, a terrific young man who works his tail off, focuses on what’s important, treats everyone with respect and has seven points in a five-game point streak (4-3-7).
Comments on tonight’s game and this post.