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This was the last thing anyone would have expected. Rick Dipietro is injured.

 

Wait, that’s not possible. Rick Dipietro is unstoppable!

 

Wrong.

 

In 2006, newly appointed GM Garth Snow thought that signing Rick Dipietro to a 15 year, $67M contract sounded right. He was the teams goalie of the future, and would surely help the team to success.

 

Again, Wrong.

 

The oft-injured Islander is out with a concussion and there is no timetable for his return. Dipietro, in the 6th year of that horrid 15 year contract (9 more years of hell, Long Island!), was struck in the mask by teammate Brian Rolston’s shot during practice Wednesday. Dipietro has played a total of only 39 games the past 3 seasons due to a number of injuries.

 

Here is Rick DiPietro’s long and storied injury history and the number of games he has missed.

Hip surgery: nine games

Knee surgery: 60 games

Swollen right knee: 41 games

Various knee injuries: 36 games

Lower body injury: one game

Groin: 13 games

Neck injury: two games

Concussion: one game

Personal reasons: three games

Flu: two games

Headache: eight games

Facial Injuries: 28 games

———

204 Games

 

You saw that right. He has missed 204 games due to injury during his career. Not at all what the Islanders wanted when they signed him to that out of this world deal. With DiPietro out, they can rely on former Sharks netminder Evgeni Nabokov to shoulder some of the load. Nabokov dressed for the first time Thursday, backing up starter Al Montoya, who the Islanders acquired last season from

AP

the Phoenix Coyotes for only a 7th round pick. That no-risk move certianlly paid off, as Montoya went  9-5-5 in 20 games with the Islanders last season.

 

(credit: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

(credit: AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)

Nabokov, on the other hand, was claimed off of waivers from the Detroit Red Wings last year, but refused to report to the team. He went to training camp this season, and should be very useful now that Dipietro is out once again.

His concussion troubles began in March 2007 when he crashed into Montreal forward Steve Begin as he charged to get to a puck at the blue line. DiPietro made a brief return for a few games, but was sidelined again by another concussion that put him out for the rest of the regular season. He did get into some playoff games that spring, all thanks to Wade Dubielewicz’s heroics while Rick was injured.

So was the Dipietro signing the worst in hockey history? At this point, its very possible, but there are still more years left on his contract then he has played, so you can’t say that now. There is a possibility, but a very small one, that his injury problems go away once he returns from his current concussion, but concussion injuries start to add up. As stated before, there is no timetable for his return, so it could be one week (not likely,) or never at all. For most players, that would be unlikely, but this is Dipi we are talking about here.

 

The Islanders only pay $601,000 for Montoya, and only $570,000 for Nabokov, while Dipietro is at $4.5M per. Montoya had 9 wins in 2010-2011 in 20 games, while Dipietro had 8 in 26. Obviously, Dipietro is getting outplayed, so instead of paying him big bucks to sit at home, they can always buy him out for $1.5M per season until 2021, $3M more in cap room available.They can use the money to sign some one or two players who would actually dress for some games, unlike Dipi. His performance doesn’t help him at all, winning only 69 games in 164 games, for a .420 Winning percentage on his current contract.  I think this is a big year for Rick, because if he doesn’t return, the team may be forced to cut ties with him.

 

Follow me on twitter, @StevenEllisNHL

 

About The Author

Steven took a different route towards his hockey interests. Starting out as a big Habs fan, he started to gravitate towards the more obscure levels of hockey, such as the low level tournaments in Asia, strange club matches between teams most people in North America can’t pronounce, and even some 3am contests between Bulgaria and New Zealand. Aside from his love for strange hockey events, Steven occasionally acts as a mediocre ball hockey goalie following a failed attempt at making it to the NHL as a fourth line house league grinder. Beyond hockey, Steven is an avid racing fan and loves to chat about NASCAR, F1, Indycar, you name it. Oh, and don’t get him started on music. That is, unless you want the whole history of metal and a guitar lesson. Currently, Steven is a credentialed media member with the Mississauga Steelheads of the OHL, as well as with the Oakville Blades of the OJHL. Steven has also hosted the television show "The Hockey House" on TVCogeco in Ontario, as well as a segment under the same with on LeafsTV in Toronto. Home page: http://www.thehockeyhouse.net

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