In Defense of #39

What once started as the brightest spot on an Islanders' team has turned into a punch line that continues to leave fans doubled over in pain. As the frequent flyer miles rack up for Rick DiPietro's stays on the injured reserve, Isles' fans can do nothing but shake their head in shame. 

From a business stand point, signing a goalie to a 15 year contract was a gamble. It has never been done before. For a team widely considered as unorthodox in how they do business, this shouldn't have come as a surprise.
Financially, if Ricky stayed healthy, it could have paid off in a huge way but it hasn't. You have to sympathize with the decision making process if not simply just because it was with the team's future in mind. Hindsight is always 20/20 so it is easy to point and laugh at Isles' management for this blunder. Especially now that this Rick DiPietro contract reeks like a spoiled piece of meat. (Photo Credit: Flickr/5of7)
Rick DiPietro has pretty much remained idle while collecting large sums of his $67.5 million dollars spread out across 15 years. While Isles' fans are fed up with the injuries and the player, it is hard to blame Charles Wang and co. completely.
These same fans that boo and rip the contract now that time has passed are the ones that belly ache that no big name free agents ever want to play here. This franchise has had to overpay and overcommit to players to compensate for the lack of appeal to playing home games at the Old Barn. Rick DiPietro is no exception.
Love or hate Rick, there is no denying his absolute love and desire to play here even when he was at the top of his game. Isles' management tried to solidify the most important position on the ice for many years. If Rick DiPietro played the same way now that he played as he did carrying the team to the playoffs in 2007, the deal would be a steal. But he didn't and it is not.
Since the beginning of the 2008-09 season, Rick DiPietro has played exactly 47 games as the Islanders' goalie. Injuries have ravaged this young man's career and through every interview the deep pain is evident. He wants to win with this franchise, badly.
The way that history played out, it is impossible to argue against the notions that this is one of the worst contracts in NHL history. The expectations for Rick DiPietro and this contract were without a doubt unrealistic. He was the savior before John Tavares but it seems that the team is ready to move on without him.
I don't dislike Rick DiPietro for any reason whatsoever. There is no other way to describe the scenario surrounding him except unfortunate. Bad breaks and terrible luck has left his name connected with words like bust and embarassment. (Photo Credit:Flickr/greennlonely)
Now that leaves us to ponder what will happen in the next couple of years. Ricky has stated his intentions of competing for the starting job in goal. 
Is it possible for DiPietro to salvage his career eventually? 
Will he ever play a full season?
With the Islanders' crowded and talented net situation, will the Islanders' just cut their losses?
These answers will be gathered with time. He sure has time to figure it out. 9 years worth of time.
For now, as a fan of the Islanders and of redemption stories in general, all I can do is hope for one day watching this Islanders' team raising the Stanley Cup. I can see it now...Kevin Poulin plays lights out for the Islanders and becomes a star in the net within the next couple of years.
This will leave Rick in the cold. There is no shot that he'd ever start now...
If they somehow win the Cup, even as a back up, I think Rick DiPietro could sigh and enjoy the moment. I truly believe he puts the Islanders' crest above and beyond everything else. That is something I will always respect about him. He wanted to be an Islander while others shyed away from the idea.
We're all Islanders...even the ones that can't stay healthy.



Angelica Rodriguez's picture

I agree completely. And I also love the opening line of this article. Just saying.

Steve Giangaspro's picture

thank you!