Yesterday, it was announced that NY Islanders franchise Goalie-For-Life, Rick DiPietro, will require surgery on his OTHER hip. Thus explaining his less than stellar performance since the All-Star game. Everyone heard him say “My $$*!##%% Hip!” while he was 'mic'-ed up for the cameras. Not the best way to announce an injury to the hockey world, but that’s Ricky. Always spontaneous and never at a loss for expletives.
Having watched him since he started out in Bridgeport, I noticed there was something “not right” with him. I mistakenly had chalked it up to the ‘Curse of Sudsie’ as the returning goalie coach has been let back into the fold for the past few months. But now we find it is something far more dark and sinister: a bum hip on a 26 year-old superstar.
Time for damage control in many aspects. First there was the speculation that relationships were strained between the “face-of-the-franchise” and their “I’ve got one more year on my contract” head coach. Don Cherry said publically that no one should have faulted Ted Nolan for sitting Rick DiPietro his first game back after the death of his Grandmother. But Oh my! how gums did flap about it, especially since the Islanders lost that particular contest. But Ted was right in his decision, whether it was a popular one in the locker room or not.
Certainly, if there is a tear in the fabric of the “we rule by committee” Islander Hockey Ops, it will be Teddy who feels the pinking shears first. While I am almost certain Ted Nolan will begin next season as the Islanders head coach, I am also certain that if they do not have a winning record by December with a healthy team, his Christmas gift will be a one-way ticket back to Moncton. But that should not concern Islander Country right now. Ted CAN be a winning coach, given something “WINNING” to work with. And that’s “winning” Garth, not WHINING.
Ricky’s health and quality of play is at the forefront of everyone’s mind today. Not just because he is loved like a rock-star on Long Island, but because he’s ours for basically… FOREVER. There is already a tremendous burden on the Islanders’ salary cap as they continue paying Charles Wang’s ex tennis partner, Alexi Yashin. I have been assured though, that Rick’s contract is well structured and well insured. It better be.
Breathe easy Islander faithful, for even as DiPietro joins the ranks of the Islanders walking wounded, Kyle “The Big O” Okposo is here to spark your interest in its future. Kyle is just the newest puppy on the ice for this last bracket of games to end the season. I’m thinking of going to see a Sound Tiger game on March 30th, just so I can see who is in the ECHL club of ours. Why not? It’s still hockey. So everyone… just CHILL! EVERYTHING’S UNDER CONTROL… REALLY… IT IS… IT’S OK(poso).