With the playoffs nearly out of reach, hockey has become a contract sport for the Islanders.
Coach Scott Gordon will be entering the final year of his three-year deal next season, but he brushed aside any thoughts of being a lame duck.
"I think coaches are lame ducks every year no matter what the contract is,'' he said Friday. "I coached in Providence [AHL] for five years on a one-year contract. To me, it comes with the job. You either do the job and your employers are happy, or you don't and they get rid of you.
"Just because you have a three- or five-year contract and get renewed, at the end of the day, you can get fired tomorrow. I don't eat myself up over that. I do the best I can do. If it's not good enough and somebody decides it, then it's their decision and I'm not going to change it.''
Gordon also addressed the ongoing situation of injured goalie Rick DiPietro, who has started 12 games over two seasons. With less than a month left, will the 28-year-old see any more action this season?
"At the end of the day, we'd all like to see Ricky play,'' Gordon said. "He's hopefully going to be an important part of our future, and with the amount of time he's had off, it can only be beneficial to play.''
DiPietro is owed $4.5 million a year until 2021 under the terms of the 15-year, $67.5-million deal he signed in 2006. Would the Islanders part ways with him? "Talk to Garth about that,'' Gordon said.
Snow, through an Islanders spokesman, responded "no'' when asked if a buyout has been or will be discussed. Under the NHL salary cap, DiPietro would be owed two-thirds of his remaining contract should the Islanders seek a termination.
DPietro declined to be interviewed at IceWorks in Syosset, where the team held an informal workout without him.
Some happy contract news likely is in store for Matt Moulson, who wasn't assured a roster spot before the season but leads the team in goals with 24. He was a bargain at $575,000.
"He didn't for one day take anything for granted,'' Gordon said of Moulson. "That's something players, when they have short-term success, find it very easy to do. He's never been like that; he's always had an uphill battle. Even in college, nothing was ever handed to him. Those types of players, they find a way to deal with adversity and make something out of nothing.''
Moulson will let his agent work on a new deal, saying: "I've learned in my short time in the pros that if I try to figure out what's going on, I'll drive myself nuts. I obviously love Long Island. I'm sure everything will work out and I'll be an Islander for a long time.''