Rick DiPietro was sitting in the media lounge at Barclays Center at 5 p.m. last Thursday, waiting for the Islanders’ game against the Stars to begin but starting to run out of ways in which to prepare for his job as an MSG analyst.
That was no surprise, since he had been there since around 2.
“Just hanging out,” he said with a shrug, still two hours before game time.
Such is his new lifestyle on days he works Islanders games, a split shift necessitated by the Jan. 17 move of his ESPN New York radio show from the noon to 3 p.m. slot it filled the previous 1 1/2 years to a new one from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
DiPietro’s partner, Alan Hahn, faces the same scheduling challenge, given his other job as an MSG Knicks analyst.
Overall, though, DiPietro said he is happy with an evolution that has taken the show from nighttime in 2014 to afternoon in 2015 to squarely in the middle of the morning now.
“Just for way of life, it’s better, because we’re there early and we get done at 1, especially with a baby for me,” the former Islanders goaltender said, referring to his 3-month-old daughter. He said his wife, Cassandra, is a big fan of the move.
DiPietro said the move also should be good for the station. Rather than waiting until noon for the first New York-based show of the day, the station now can get local voices on the air two hours earlier.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to follow ‘Mike and Mike’ and then lead right into Stephen A. Smith,” DiPietro said. “So I think as far as the station is concerned it’s probably a positive move.”
Hahn, DiPietro and their new partner, former Giants defensive lineman Chris Canty, who joined in November, took the slot previously filled by Dan Le Batard’s national show.
DiPietro, who last played in the NHL in 2013, is only 35 and is grateful to have found a post-playing-career calling.
“I honestly love every second of it,” he said. “I mean, I consider myself really lucky, because there are a lot of guys who, once you get done [playing], really you don’t know what to do. Plus, you have to find what you’re passionate about.
“I love sports, and now I get a chance to talk about them for three hours a day, and with the addition of Canty on the show now, you get a Super Bowl champion to talk to. It’s been really fun.”