New York Notables: It's Rick DiPietro's Time

New York Islander Fan Central | 11/18/2011 11:44:00 PM |

This is why six goaltenders needed to be signed.

Did you really believe Evgeny Nabokov and Al Montoya were completely durable goaltenders? Both were hurt at the World Championships, Nabokov managed to be so out of shape he needed close to a month last year to get ready when Detroit signed him?

Dwayne Roloson (granted much older in hockey years with his own injury history) was the exception, not the rule.

Evgeny Nabokov's groin injury will keep him out for at least a month, Al Montoya apparently was injured in Colorado and is day to day.

Mikko Koskinen is in the FNL on assignment, no idea if the Isles are going to ask he return to North America.

Just like that, the New York Islander goaltending is down to Rick DiPietro, who has to play five games in the next seven days all against winning teams with the Isles season basically on the line. They cannot afford to lose any more ground in the standings, and five hundred means nothing.

Kevin Poulin goes from part time goaltender, coming off another knee surgery, to full time starter as in three games in three days in Bridgeport.

First up, the Boston Bruins on a seven game winning streak, then a trip back to Pittsburgh where Matt Cooke and the Pens (perhaps with a Crosby return) will be fired up.

Rick DiPietro to the best of my knowledge last season rarely played back to back games and did not prove durable. Obviously there is no hiding from the fact he must not only stay healthy, but stop the puck, and give this team a chance to win games with a suspect (to be kind) defense.

There is no hiding from Mike Mottau's turnovers, Milan Jurcina's lapses, Steve Staios getting caught, or turning over the puck, with penalties or the lack of speed on the backline and some of these forwards.

Fair to write the deck is stacked against DiPietro, who's passing may be the biggest benefit to this teams slow defense, but mistakes could hurt them just as easily.

Either way, it's Rick DiPietro's time.
Happy the club got any win possible against Montreal, loved Bailey's pass to Pandolfo, Niederreiter's effort to clear a puck, and some of the good chances they generated that Peter Budaj did make some great saves on when he was not letting in soft goals.

Still, even with the injuries on the Montreal backline, even playing the night before, you could see the speed from their defenders as they took the puck and skated it out of their end of the ice. Mistakes and all, Montreal basically took over play in the third period as a five player unit.

That's what's been missing for this offense, defenders who can take the puck and skate with it. This is why I see the club outnumbered in all three zones.
No one's going to convince me a penalty kill that is around 20th, needs Jay Pandolfo so badly that Kyle Okposo should sit for a third game.

Or that Mike Mottau should not be placed on waivers for Wishart, Reese or another defender.
Congratulations to Ed Westfall, lot's of great memories/stories of him not only from the Islanders but his time in Boston, where he won the Stanley Cup. Hopefully Saturday's ceremony also includes a tribute to Jiggs McDonald, who apparently is also getting a plaque.