GLENDALE, Ariz. - Although goaltender Rick DiPietro couldn't deliver a win in his season debut against Dallas Friday night, he was pleased to finally make his way back to the NHL after such a lengthy absence.
DiPietro, who began rehabbing a surgically repaired knee in August, stopped 24 of 28 shots in the Islanders' 4-3 loss at Dallas. After his first game since Jan. 2, 2009, DiPietro said he was encouraged by how he felt afterward.
"It was great to be back," he said Saturday. "Physically I feel good and I'm looking forward to my next chance to play."
After sitting out the previous 10 games as a healthy scratch, defenseman Freddy Meyer returned to the Islanders last night. Meyer, who had not played since Dec. 17 against the Rangers, replaced Brendan Witt.
Gordon did not go into much detail about his decision to make the swap, saying, "I thought it was a good time to get Freddy in and I had to sit someone."
Witt certainly did not have one of his better games Friday night against Dallas. Combined with a minus-18 overall this season, he committed an ugly giveaway that led to Brenden Morrow's tying goal in the second period.
"It's never easy to sit a veteran,'' Gordon said, "but in my mind, it was the right time to do it."
Meyer said he was looking forward to the opportunity.
"I'm excited to get back in there and I just want to show that I can play hard and smart," he said. "It's definitely an opportunity to get back in there. You don't know how long you're going to be back in the lineup, so you just want to impress them enough to keep you in."