The idea that Rick DiPietro could be between the pipes for the Isles as soon as next week seemed a little too good to be true. It was.
After allowing one goal through two periods in his second AHL rehab start, Ricky was benched for the third period due to what the team called "some tightness". The report claimed that the tightness was unrelated to any of his previous injuries, but considering how many lower body injuries Rick has experienced over the past few seasons, it had to be. There was certainly a sense of further disaster in the Rick DiPietro saga.
Tonight, via Chris Botta of Islanders Point Blank, comes the following statement from GM Garth Snow:
“Ricky has been seen by the team doctors and most recently a specialist. To make sure we are taking the proper steps in his rehabilitation we will seek an additional opinion and should have a timeline by the end of the week.”
Needless to say, there is nothing positive about this report. The notion that DP could be back this month is officially out the window and now fans will play the waiting game for another announcement. But in all honesty, the announcements just don't really matter any more. DP has proven that he is simply not physically capable of overcoming his plethora of injuries and returning to NHL shape. If four total periods of minor league hockey is all Ricky could muster after 11 months of rehab from his countless number of injuries and surgeries, then chances are he is a lost cause.
Sure, the Islanders won't easily give up on their 15-year investment and "franchise player", but the team is already preparing for the worst. The fact that the team drafted goaltenders in the second and third rounds of the '09 draft in addition to signing two "number 1s" in the offseason was certainly a sign about the bleak future of Rick DiPietro.
Now, with a timeline expected by the end of the week, I'll make the bold prediction that we don't see Rick DiPietro starting between the pipes for the Isles for the rest of the '09-'10 season. While there's nothing more I would love than to be proven wrong, I think it's time that those who haven't done so already begin to face the music. It would certainly be sad to see the career of such a talented, charismatic, and just plain likable guy be cut so short, but to suggest that this is far from the truth is being in denial.