NHL: Rick DiPietro Heads to Germany for Lockout

Mike BlazowskiAnalyst IOctober 10, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 10: Rick DiPietro #39 of the New York Islanders takes part in the team's celebration following their 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October10, 2011 in Uniondale, New York.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Another New York Islander has taken flight to Europe for the duration of this plaguing lockout.

SC Riessersee announced Wednesday morning (h/t Yahoo! Sports) that Rick DiPietro had made his way to Germany and is scheduled to play his first game on Sunday.

This may be the best news that we've gotten in a long time on the DiPietro front. It seems the Islanders had plans of keeping DiPietro as the backup to Nabokov for this season, very similar to what we saw in the beginning of last season, only to find himself on the injured reserve list, yet again.

The reason this is such an excellent turn of events is that it gives DiPietro ice time in a slower-paced league with much less pressure to perform at a ridiculous level, considering that in New York the entire weight of the Islanders fanbase is constantly laying on DiPietro to make a sudden and marked improvement over what we've seen from him the last few years. 

If DiPietro is able to stay healthy, play well and get back into the rhythm of playing, then hopefully we can see the player that the Islanders drafted first overall so long ago. He can then make his way out of the fans' doghouse and into some kind of standing on a game-to-game basis.

The worst-case scenario is that DiPietro will somehow find a way to hurt himself again and would be shut down for the rest of the season if and when the lockout ends. That would allow the river of Islanders goaltending prospects to open up.

Either way, playing time and consistency will undoubtedly help when he makes his way back to the NHL.

The question remains, though: Can he stay healthy?