Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro will miss tonight's start in Bridgeport - which was supposed to be the third and final game of his rehab assignment - because of a potential setback he experienced in Friday's game.
Originally slated to play all three periods in Springfield in the second start of his conditioning stint, DiPietro stopped 13 of 14 shots in the first two periods but did not play the third after experiencing leg "tightness" (the Islanders have not specified which leg). At the time, DiPietro said the tightness was unrelated to the multiple surgeries he has had in recent years.
DiPietro, who has not practiced since feeling the discomfort, received treatment over the weekend and was expected to have an evaluation yesterday.
Given DiPietro's track record with injuries, the Islanders have to be concerned, although they hope this most recent development turns out to be minor.
"Ricky has been seen by the team doctors and most recently a specialist," general manager Garth Snow said in a statement released after last night's game against Florida. "To make sure we are taking the proper steps in his rehabilitation, we will seek an additional opinion and should have a timeline by the end of the week."
DiPietro's two-week conditioning stint will expire Thursday. Considering his lengthy absence, the 80 minutes he has played in Bridgeport (he has stopped 23 of 27 shots) likely is not sufficient to prepare him for an NHL return.
Theoretically, the Islanders could send him on a second rehab stint - this time for the leg tightness rather than the knee he had surgically repaired last season - but the organization was cautious about making further plans until DiPietro underwent an evaluation.
"Right now I'm just trying to get to the bottom of this leg tightness situation and I don't want to speculate," Snow said. "We don't have enough information to make a good game plan."