Friday, January 23, 2009

Losing DiPietro just adds to a lost season

Mama said there'd be seasons like this...

The fact that Rick DiPietro is officially out for the season is hardly shocking, and while disappointing, considering the laundry list of injuries the Islanders have already suffered this season, it's almost fitting.

Should we be concerned? Of course. You would think that a meniscus surgery wouldn't be such a big deal, but the fact that the knee hasn't responded well to a second surgery, and the fact that doctors aren't guaranteeing anything once he rests it for 6-8 weeks, are red flags of the highest order.

What gets me are the yahoos (you can find them in most any comments section or message board) who use the injury as the latest excuse to crucify Charles Wang and Garth Snow. DiPietro was pretty durable up until last season, when he was an All-Star. Since then, he's suffered a bad stretch of luck that may or may not be related to his prior workload.

His 15-year deal was signed a season before his All-Star nod and since that time, there have been many long-term contracts inked by the league's top stars. The Islanders had no marketable marquee player -- D.P. was it. He was 25 at the time, with his prime ahead of him, and at $4 million a season, he traded the opportunity to make bigger dollars down the road for security, and Wang rolled the dice that his goalie would not only earn his money and stay healthy, but that he would be the cornerstone of the club -- on and off the ice -- much as Martin Brodeur has been in New Jersey.

You wonder if he'll ever be the same, and hope the extended rest and rehab is what he needs. But if something like this was going to happen, a season like this -- where, remember, we had no expectations anyway -- is a good time for it to happen.

Of course, all the injuries and not having your No. 1 goalie -- on a team that was offensively challenged to begin with -- have made for some tough viewing.

Fans who actually watch the games have noticed that the Isles have played hard and have been in almost every game. But without go-to scorers and with so much inexperience -- including backup goalies in the nets -- complete games are few and far between. There's a lot of learning going on, and a lot of new faces in and out of the lineup, so consistency hasn't been there.

Again, to me, it doesn't matter. Mark Streit -- playing in his first All-Star game this weekend, and deservedly so -- was a tremendous pickup, and who doesn't love Josh Bailey? Despite the losses and the insane amount of injuries, there has been enough positives to see to prevent this fan from calling for people's heads or heading for the nearest bridge.

Then again, I root for the Jets and the Mets. Patience and perspective are required.

1 comment:

Shelly said...

Well put. No one can foresee injuries like Ricky has had. I'm a Mets and Jets fan, too. ;)

My only concern is that the Isles will leave Long Island. That would hurt more than a losing season.