Well it's April 1st and the season is winding down with all the usual topics of discussion floating around. The Isles not in the playoff hunt. Players going for personal bests in goals and points, and most importantly, the never ending talking about next season. O wait, Rick DiPietro is giving out free hot dogs at the game today? I completely forgot he was a part of our organization.
And that's how it should be in the year 2012.
I read an article about DP a few months ago and how retirement is up to Rick and how he's trying so hard to come back, and by all means, that is indeed very commendable on his part. Well, at least on the surface. I feel that having DP come in and out of this team year after year has continually interrupted the ebb and flow that was there. This isn't to say the Islanders would be a top team in the East without him playing, but what is there is being brought down by a constant interruption. He may be a great guy and bring cheer to the locker room with his jolly old beard, but it has become extremely apparent that this team does not feel confident in front of him. And frankly it needs to stop.
The fans have justifiably abandoned DP. As a die-hard Islander fan since birth I wish it wasn't this way but it is; the man is a joke now. I'm not even going to focus on the Milbury years or other mistakes. I'm focusing on how Rick is becoming detrimental to this team on, and off the ice. I feel management should indeed pressure him to retire. Money aside he just seems like a nagging itch that periodically shows up. He is the sole reason we had a 3 goalie rotation for part of the season. And absolutely no one benefited from that. I'm well aware that he was considered healthy at the time but when Montoya was playing at the level he was playing at, the decision to play Rick is nothing short of idiotic.
What I'm getting at is this; the Islanders owe DP nothing. Not a thing. Management needs to finally accept the fact that drafting him and signing him for an eternity was a mistake. The rest of the NHL and essentially every Islander fan as come to terms with this already. So it's about time that management follows suit. How much longer are they going to let Rick DiPietro be the elephant in the room? For the rest of his contract? How much more team damage are they willing to accumulate?
The man never played at a level that management should feel that they owe him a thing. Yes he was a reserve on the All-Star team years ago and ended up playing in the game, but even then, one respectable year shouldn't be, and isn't enough. The man is now 30 years old and is made of glass. He's no Rolie or Tim Thomas or even Ray Emery by the simple fact that he was never that good in the first place. Even the organization took note of this when they started Nilsson in net against the well publicized (to say the least) return of Crosby. To not start who should be the franchise goalie against the best player in the world on a National stage really says something. It takes some serious balls for the Isles organization to continue to sell DP merchandise. It's almost like after every sale the cashier must be saying to themselves "Sucker....". I'd much rather be sporting a Cairns or Peca jersey. Hell, I'd rather have a Parrish jersey at this point.
It has come to the point where a friend of mine has altered his DiPietro jersey to look like the above photo. I'm not saying that his jersey is either A) a good idea or B) aesthetically pleasing in the slightest, but his message is loud and clear; the Islanders need to take the next step and remove the looming burden that is Rick DiPietro for good.
But Hey Rick, thanks for the free hot dogs.