Peter Botte's recap of the Islanders' exciting shootout win over the Penguins took on a decidedly Rick DiPietro flavor. With few updates on his progress since DiPietro was shut down for the season, Botte veered off into franchise-goalie land in his second paragraph with outside-the-game quotes about the unknowable -- whether DiPietro will be healthy for 2009 training camp:
"I don't see any way that I'm not," said DiPietro, who will miss the remainder of this season with complications in his twice surgically repaired knee. "I'm not giving a definitive answer either way. I don't know what's going to happen. But so far, so good.
"I've seen quite a few doctors who are pretty positive about the future. That's the whole point of this season is to make sure I'm 100% and ready to fulfill my contract."
Determined. Proud. Yet frustrated with the rehab process and the body-not-right turmoil of this year:
"Worst thing in the world you can do is sit in a rehab center and try to get healthy. Mentally, I can't take much more of this.
Botte has more from DP about the injuries the whole club has faced the past two seasons (some 350+ man-games and counting this year alone). Can you say, re-sign Joey and Yann pronto? Last thing the Isles need is a sub-par goalie import undermining confidence among the kids next season. The team seems comfortable in front of both guys right now. Importing a "proven #1" to play maybe-fiddle to DiPietro is unrealistic, so I'd say go with who you know.
Regarding the game (there was a game?), Botte has Scott Gordon talking about Jeff Tambellini building off his success in the non-game-related situation known as the shootout. Tambellini also got coverage from Newsday's Greg Logan, who noted his team-low ice time against the Pens. Umm ... baby steps?
ISLESBLOGGER'S Take/Update 4:05pm EST [Note: what follows is Islesblogger Michael Schuerlein's on-the-scene view after the game]
I happened to see a well dressed DiPietro last night walking the halls talking to the likes of Mike Comrie, Hillary Duff (Yes, she was there last night), Ruslan Fedotenko and a bunch of fans after the game. DiPietro looks somewhat better than he has in weeks past. If there is anything I have learned from watching players when they appear in public or wherever there is a prying eye (mine for instance), it's impossible to determine their accurate state of health.
In my opinion, he appeared to be health-IER but that's about as much as I can add. He seemed upbeat and peppy as he walked, he acknowledged me (which always makes me laugh that he actually remembers who I am) and snapped his gum as he carried on past me.
I would say he will be fine come training camp, as long as he doesn't try too hard to come back too soon or take on too much of a rehabilitation schedule.
It was good to see him around the team though, I had not seen him in a few weeks.