This is no longer about Rick DiPietro's 15-year contract. It's not about his dedication to the organization, which can't be argued. It's not about his constant injury-plagued past three seasons.
This, in a lot of ways, isn't even about Rick DiPietro. What it is about, is the Islanders management being honest to the players, the fans and quite frankly, themselves.
DiPietro is no longer the goaltender the Islanders thought he could be when he was drafted, and he's not even close to the goalie he was prior to his long line of injuries.
Whether Garth Snow or Charles Wang want to admit it or not, DiPietro is nothing more than a No. 1 minor league goalie or a backup in the NHL. Until the franchise can admit this to themselves, the team will not be able to move forward.
Is it DiPietro's fault that he signed a 15-year contact? No, anybody else would do the same.
Is it his fault that he has had extreme bad luck with injuries that led to major surgeries? No, of course not.
Is it his fault that he has had past concussion issues? Absolutely not.
Is it his fault when he gives up goals that most goaltenders in the league would stop? The answer is a YES with more blame to go around.
The netminder should no longer be the Islanders No. 1 goalie. It is a shame that the team signed him to a 15-year contract. That being said, management can't keep using that contract as the reason DiPietro is considered the starting goalie for this team.
The Islanders will never admit that is the case, but you know it is. Any Islander fan can see that DiPietro can not be compared in any way to another No. 1 goalie on any NHL team.
It says a lot when an Islander fan has more confidence in Al Montoya, a career minor leaguer for the most part, than they do in DiPietro. That statement is in no way meant to be disrespectful to Montoya.
In fact, Montoya has been outstanding since being acquired from the Coyotes for a sixth-round draft pick. He is finally getting a chance and making the most of it. That statement is more a reflection of how bad the DiPietro situation has become.
There also appears to be a cover-up on the Islanders television broadcasts. If you watch and listen closely, Howie Rose and Butch Goring never say anything negative about DiPietro.
You hear phrases like, "That was a tough shot," or, "DiPietro had no chance on that one," or my favorite, "he looked to be screened and had no opportunity to stop the puck." Does this sound like a conspiracy theory? Maybe. It's not that far-fetched, though.
Billy Jaffe, who was the Islanders color analyst and a fan favorite, surprisingly didn't get his contract renewed. Management stated that Jaffe wasn't positive enough. That is laughable.
If anything, Jaffe was very pro Islander. It appears his downfall was the fact he was too honest. He must have held players accountable when they had a bad performance. That's what being honest and impartial does for you.
The Islanders as an organization are on the upswing. This is a summer that fans can realistically think playoffs for the 2011-12 season. It is imperative that the Islanders come to terms with the fact DiPietro is not the franchise goaltender anymore. He's not a No. 1 goalie.
Come to the realization that the 15-year deal was a mistake. Don't keep lying to the players or the fans by having them hope against hope that DiPietro will be anything more than a backup.
If management can admit this, the Islanders as an organization will keep the good vibes moving forward through the summer and into the start of next season. If they decide they have to vindicate the 15-year contract, they will be hurting the organization as a whole.
Snow and Wang are on the clock.