Rick DiPietro getting closer to playing

Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro in action during the

Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro in action during the 2010-11 season. (Jan. 15, 2011) (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Rick DiPietro took another step toward playing a game by dressing as Evgeni Nabokov's backup Tuesday.

"It's nice to be back in that game atmosphere again," said DiPietro, who missed 13 days with a concussion. He hadn't played before taking a shot off his mask on Oct. 12, having dressed as Al Montoya's backup in the first two games.

DiPietro and Montoya, who didn't dress for the first time this season, both skated Tuesday morning with injured players Nino Niederreiter (groin) and Milan Jurcina (groin), along with healthy scratch Trevor Gillies.

"Just skated to stay sharp, and it feels good to have some health in my knees and hips still," DiPietro said.

DiPietro could make his season debut Thursday night in Pittsburgh or Saturday at home against the Sharks.

Jurcina, who has participated in the last two practices, could also be ready to make his season debut. He's been moved along very slowly.

Niederreiter also hasn't played this season and is at least a week away from practicing for the first time since he suffered the injury in Newark on Sept. 30, according to coach Jack Capuano.

 

Park returns to the Island

Richard Park was very much a do-the-little-things player in his four seasons with the Islanders, so his return to the Coliseum with the Penguins didn't have a ton of fanfare.

He was offered a two-way contract after the 2009-10 season but decided to sign in the Swiss League. He left there after one season and came to the Penguins camp on a tryout and has been a key contributor with so many injured Penguins, adding to his point total with a second-period goal, his second of the season at age 35.

"I had a wonderful time here," Park said before the game. "I have nothing but good things to say, and that's the truth."

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