With goaltender Rick DiPietro experiencing some swelling in his surgically-repaired left knee, Nathan Lawson has been called up on an emergency basis. The 27-year-old Calgary native will also make his first NHL start tonight.

The news came at the conclusion of a bizarre and confusing morning skate.

Lawson's presence on the ice would not have been so puzzling save for the fact that both Dwayne Roloson and  DiPietro were also on the ice this morning--effectively thwarting any injury speculation. Then Lawson came off the ice first, which led head coach Jack Capuano to confirm he'd start tonight against Phoenix.

Capuano explained that DiPietro was "dinged up," but that it was "nothing serious" and that he and general manager Garth Snow decided it would be a good time to give Lawson an opportunity ( odd, however, after the Islanders secured only their 2nd win in 22 games on Thursday).

So why not go with the obvious solution: start Roloson and have Lawson back him up?

"If we're going to bring guys up, we're going to give them an opportunity. It's just like with Rhett [Rakhshani] in that if we're going to bring a guy up, we're not going to have them sit on the bench," Capuano told Newsday.

A source also told Newsday that the situation is in no way connected with tomorrow's roster freeze.

When asked why he skated today with the swelling in his knee, DiPietro said he feels good and is confident the setback is "minor."

"I wouldn't have been out there if it was anything serious," he said.


Regardless of the strange circumstances, Lawson will get his first NHL start tonight after two-plus season with the Sound Tigers. Lawson, 2-4-2 in 9 games for Bridgeport this season, was given the news after the Sound Tigers' 6-3 loss to Springfield. Lawson replaced starter Mikko Koskinen in the second period, with Snow and Capuano in attendance.

 "I'm just taking it as a normal game, like it's any other game for me, so I'll just have to have fun out there, be calm and see what happens," Lawson said.



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