Today's NYI Fan Central final review puts the bright spotlight on goaltender Rick DiPietro.
Rick DiPietro for the most part aside from a few early bad goals was simply outstanding beginning to end. He was a first time all-star who someone kept his team in contention scoring two goals or less fourteen games in a row at a time the veterans should have been at their best and healthy. Isles season should have been over right there, instead they got up to six games over break even before injury/illness and the club's inability to score and a terrible powerplay finally finished them.
Go watch his games on that West Coast trip, every point they got he stole for them as the club was horrible in Colorado, Edmonton, Vancouver, Minnesota before finally beating a tired Senators team.
Isles led the league in one goal wins for a good part of the year, Rick DiPietro was the biggest reason. His movements seemed more compact for a good part of the season, and most nights was an asset with his stick handling.
Unfortunately he could not get enough games to overtime with the lack of scoring in front of him and a defense that even though they cut the shots against by close to two hundred from a year, still made glaring mistakes at times where no goalie had a chance.
Anyone who only looks at his second half stats and not the quality goals against where he kept them in several games after the All-Star break simply were not paying attention or looking for a reason to complain for reasons beyond the game.
He said he was playing hurt, I challenge anyone to look at the game highlights from the All-Star break on, right through his final game against Montreal and tell me how his goal tending was not outstanding and carried the club most games? One look at the goals against the oppositionn scored tells the story.
If that's not enough the six game winning streak with all those injuries that got them into contention should be, injured hip and all.
Unfortunately Mr Logan had a need to create some controversy at a time he lost a family member and went overboard with his own speculation and found a few games after that where he struggled to make his injury seem like he was hurting the club by playing.
We did not see that theme a year ago against Buffalo when he also played with an injured hip and from his play there he did not look hurt either.
It was unfair and unprofessional on Mr Logan's part. He played hurt and aside from a game in Philadelphia and a game in Tampa played very well. He deserved far better for his overall season from the teams only regular beatwriter as he created a
so-called rift even Nolan denied.
You could make a case Brendan Witt was this club's MVP, you could throw Radek Martinek in that mix, but without Rick DiPietro early this team is out of contention by Christmas, it's not even close.
He reportedly had no problems with his hip after last season's surgery so there is no reason to think there should be a problem this time around. Despite all the talk of limiting him the only thing that needs to be limited are schedules where a team plays three games in twenty days to start the season. If he had the five three days plus breaks the Rangers had from mid-February through the end of the season it would not even have been an issue.
Isles did not have one three day break after December and only a pair of two day breaks for close to a month starting around Feb10th.
I have no doubt DiPietro will be played based on how he performs, not some advanced program determined by media speculation. He played sixty games the last two years, if the schedule provides he will play more if he's healthy.
I only see a goaltender who is getting better. Hopefully the club in front of him gives him a chance.
He receives an A for keeping the club in contention early, for holding the lowest scoring club in the league in contention, for being named to the all-star game and for his play right through his final game in Montreal. Martin Brodeur felt he is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, Isles are lucky to have him.