2/5/11

DiPietro Was Durable But Did Not Prove He Can Be Starter

New York Islander Fan Central | 2/05/2011 12:11:00 AM


Sorry, I know we have folks out there, who simply don't want Rick DiPietro here under any circumstances.

I'm not one of them.

The combination of Johnson's forearm/elbow pad to his eye combined with knee swelling likely could be the end of his season. It would have been great if he could have continued to split starts or even take the starters job full time from the day Roloson was traded, but it did not happen.

You can bet management is asking questions.

I saw a goaltender who despite the numbers had basically two poor games against Carolina and Philadelphia.

Beyond that I saw few poor overall efforts, but a goalie who was slower, and as usual tried to do more than he should have. Some sloppy play, bad breaks, and some goals he should not have allowed off the high-stick/non-call on Martinek, but for the most part about what you expect after so few games over two seasons.

Sure, this was DiPietro's chance to start with little on the table in terms of playoffs, it was a chance to knock off rust and leave no doubts for 2010-11 in terms of starting.

Did not happen, he rarely played back to back games. He did not prove he could start for one week.

It's not nearly enough for anyone but this year he did prove himself durable in terms of his knee injury from virtually day one of camp, until the game in Pittsburgh. He did not hobble off with a serious knee injury against Pittsburgh.

A while back I did an entry that I felt his contract is still a good one for Islanders here and to date I still agree with my entry.

This year was not a great start for DiPietro by any means, in a season that ended with a 1-21 nightmare long ago, but it was a beginning for him to participate in twenty one games and keep a record above five hundred most of the season.

Next season he has to take the next step, he must be able to take the starters job, he did not demonstrate he could do that this season. Perhaps many don't understand he could not return to do what he used to do in year one, perhaps expectations were too high from staff/fans/player/everyone in that regard.

Sure he can always be the long-term backup, his contract is structured for him to be in a role long-term. For that to happen next season would mean the contract has become a failure.

This year was about proving he could return and remain durable, which he did for the most part. Next year he has to take a step up to a dependable starting goaltender, building back toward a top flight NHL goaltender.

Bottom line he was over five hundred, on a team ten games under five hundred at one point, much more will be expected.
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As for the effort in Pittsburgh, I was disgusted with the teams play. Outworked, badly outhit, out-skated, by a team without it's best players, and virtually no fore-check established the entire game.

Both teams played the night before and won, to frankly get manhandled like that with virtually no puck possession or zone time was a brutal display where no excuse can be given.
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Joel Martin signed a two-way contract, which means the Odessa goaltender, who has five AHL games since signing with Bridgeport 1/5, may be backing up here. Another goaltender has to be added to Bridgeport's roster or another has to be added from somewhere.

Nate Lawson is out 2-4 weeks based on his late January IR date.

Too much is being asked of Kevin Poulin at his age. To callup Mikko Koskinen also is asking a lot.

Mike Smith cleared waivers, he was also injured recently.

What's next? Play Senators, with Spezza returning, who handily won at New York recently, then see what happens by Tuesday. Hunter, Weight and Jurcina are getting closer and that could mean someone is moving in a trade. Wishart will get his look with Reese demoted. They looked good in Atlanta with Grabner's pass to Okposo fantastic read.

I suspect the feature on Martinek today is a sign the club is looking to resign him, and they should. This group cannot have enough depth, who can move puck.

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