To amplify today's story on the crowded Isles crease this training camp, here's some more from Rick DiPietro, who turned 30 on Monday.
He was introspective in a chat on Sunday -- still confident as ever, but mixed with a definite realization that it's time to earn back his status and not simply expect it to return after three mostly lost seasons.
"I obviously haven’t done myself any favors by not staying healthy the last couple years," he said. "You give other people opportunities to step in there and play. I remember watching a special on Tom Brady not long ago and he said he wanted to play every game because he didn’t want anyone to think they could do his job better than he could.
"That’s something you strive for. The great part about it is, it’s good guys. It’s not just guys to compete against, it’s guys you get along with, which is nice."
He talked about the kids in goal -- Kevin Poulin, Anders Nilsson and Mikko Koskinen -- who are pushing to get noticed right along with DiPietro, Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov, who all have lots to prove.
"It’s always tough in the preseason, especially with this many guys. The main thing is to make sure you get all the kinks out so that, once that first game hits, you’re pumping on all cylinders. It should be interesting to see how things go. You can only control how hard you prepare, so that’s what I’m focusing on."
As for DiPietro's retro cage mask, which he was forced to wear as his facial fractures healed following the KO from Penguins goalie Brent Johnson, DiPietro is sticking with the old-school look.
"No, I like it, actually. It was a necessity to begin with so I could get back earlier – with the plates and stuff, you can’t have anything that’s pressing against your face – but I got a great response from it and I like it. It’s comfortable. And pay a little tribute to Chris Osgood, who was an awesome guy and a great goalie partner."