After his second day of practice with the team this week, both goaltender Rick DiPietro and coach Jack Capuano seem optimistic he’ll be able to start Saturday against the Sabres.
DiPietro, 29, has yet to play in a game since suffering a groin strain in the second period of the Islanders’ 5-2 win over Calgary last week.
“It’s pretty good,” Capuano said when asked about the likelihood DiPietro will play. “He’s been having a couple of good days of practice, obviously, but we just want to make sure he’s healthy.”
DiPietro did not participate in the team’s morning skate prior to Thursday’s game against Ottawa, although he did work with goaltending consultant Sudarshan Maharaj beforehand. He
also practiced with the team fully on Wednesday.
“I feel good. It’s been nice to get back and face some live action in practices. I’ve gotten to get some work with Sudsie [Maharaj] and I’m excited about getting back,” DiPietro said.
When the final decision is made before the game, however, he’ll leave the discretion up to Capuano, head trainer Garrett Timms and general manager Garth Snow.
“I always feel like I can play to some extent, which is why I should be the last person to ask if I can play. That’s going to be something I’ll talk to Garrett and coaches about and we’ll make a decision,” he said.”
Given his history—which includes both hip and knee injuries—DiPietro also wants to make sure he’s fully healthy so as not to put any unnecessary stress on any former problem areas.
“That’s why we’ve taken the time here to make sure it’s 100 pe cent,” DiPietro said. “I know Garrett doesn’t want to come on the ice again to scoop me up. He’s a great trainer and I’ll follow what the big guy has to say.”
DiPietro, a Winthrop, Mass native, went with the hometown favorite yesterday when asked for his prediction for this weekend's AFC match-up between the Jets and the Patriots.
“I don’t like to predict things because I’m a huge jinx, but I mean Patriots at home? You gotta love them," DiPietro said, before adding a subtle salute to Pats receiver Wes Welker's humorous, yet provocative comments earlier this week. "I think they’re going to put their best foot forward and come out with a win.”