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Dig in for the long haul
The Islanders have done their best to shroud the issues surrounding goaltender Rick DiPietros health in mystery, obfuscation and misdirection. They issued a statement last night that was like a skeleton picked clean of any meat by buzzards.
Lower body injury unrelated to previous injuries day-to-day pending assessment and treatment.
Id ask them to define what they mean by unrelated to previous injuries, but trying to get a straight answer is like trying to see Major Major in Catch-22. You only can go in to see him when hes out.
Despite the news blackout, when you listen to little snippets here and there from players and coaches, theres a feeling the Islanders are battening the hatches and preparing for the worst in terms of the length of DiPietros absence. Maybe its just a case of being prudent.
But DiPietro is almost five months removed from arthroscopic right knee surgery and has worked hard to get in shape in time to play this entire season. Yet, something prevented him from starting the opener and something led to his removal after one period on Saturday and seven periods total this season. And this is a guy who started 33 of the first 35 games last season when he was coming back from hip surgery.
Call it speculation on my part if you like, but something unrelated in what sense to his previous knee surgery? has stopped DiPietro from playing twice in a span of 17 days. Refer back to the concussions he suffered 12 days apart two seasons ago. Those injuries were unrelated to his current injury physically, but not in the way they were handled.
You remember the term used to describe DiPietros head injury general body soreness. That was the classic dodge of all time. Of course, it fooled no one, and in the end, the Islanders looked foolish when DiPietro suffered a repeat of the same injury after four games. Those concussions were unrelated in the sense that they occurred on two separate occasions.
But hey, what do I know? Maybe DiPietro has a minor bump/bruise/paper cut, and hell be back in goal in a game or three.
Cant wait until further information is available, as the Islanders statement said. I just hope its not further from the truth.
ISLES FILES: With all the focus on DiPietros injury, there was no room in todays newspaper for a few other interesting comments following the Islanders 4-2 loss to the Rangers. So, Ill address them here.
After four straight losses, coach Scott Gordon was asked if the Islanders need to see something tangible in the form of a win to maintain their effort in the new system: Just because you dont have success with what were doing now doesnt mean were going to have success doing anything else, Gordon said. There wasnt a lot of success last year. The first half of the season, Ive been told the team came out pretty strong, but a lot of the success was due to Rickys goaltending, too. The way I look at that is were trying to move in a direction, not just for this year, but for down the road. We have to create some habits that are our work ethic and our way of playing that are more consistently like what we saw against Carolina [with a franchise-record 60 shots on goal].
Rookie Kyle Okposo on the 11 penalties taken by the Isles last night: Weve taken some penalties we probably shouldnt have. You can say its the refs fault, but its not. Weve got to control our sticks and keep our heads. That statement is a reflection of Gordons message to the team, which is to stop yapping at the refs and maybe gain a little respect that way.
Bill Guerin on the decline in the Islanders play in the last 30 minutes against the Rangers: I dont think it was Rangers pressure. They played a good game, but if we dont stay in our system, if we have one guy going off on his own page, its going to screw things up. From there, everybody feels like theyre just chasing and you just waste energy and everybodys out of position. We came away from our gameplan. Its not that we cant do it. Were missing discipline in our system, and were missing discipline by going to the penalty box all the time. If we correct those two things, well do much better. Those are fixable things.