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DiPietro starts; Gordon talks with Roloson

New York Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro is greeted

New York Islanders' goalie Rick DiPietro is greeted by fans as he walks to the ice for practice before NHL hockey game against the Dallas Stars. (Oct. 9, 2010) Credit: AP

With the decision to start Rick DiPietro in goal for last night's season opener, the Islanders made their No. 1 goaltender designation clear.

Coach Scott Gordon said he met with veteran netminder Dwayne Roloson during training camp to discuss playing time and had another meeting with him Saturday.

"He handled it really good. On the inside, I don't know how he handled it for sure," Gordon said. "It's not so much handling it during the conversation, it's how you handle it when you're back on the ice, sitting on the bench and not playing."

Although it appears Roloson (who turns 41 Tuesday) will back up DiPietro, Gordon said he's not worried about getting him work. He said he'll use Roloson often in back-to-back game situations and added, "We're fortunate we have a guy that could very well be a No. 1 goalie on any team in the NHL."

Hillen is scratched

Defenseman Jack Hillen joined fellow blueliner Bruno Gervais and newly acquired Austrian forward Michael Grabner as healthy scratches.

After he was scratched the first four games of last season, Hillen's play improved and he became one of the team's best defensemen. But a disappointing training camp for Hillen allowed 6-4, 240-pound Milan Jurcina to surpass him and secure a spot for opening night.

Gordon declined to talk about the decision after the team's morning skate and said he'd like to discuss the situation with Hillen first before speaking about the demotion publicly.

Nino is the bambino

When he made his debut last night, Nino Niederreiter became the youngest player in Islanders history: 18 years and 31 days.

Niederreiter also is the youngest player in the NHL since Jordan Staal made his Pittsburgh Penguins debut on Oct. 5, 2006.

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