This was the last thing anyone would have expected. Rick Dipietro is injured.
Wait, that’s not possible. Rick Dipietro is unstoppable!
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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