Monday, February 07, 2011

Chris Botta article - New York Times - February 4, 2011

My response:

DP embarassed the Islanders and their fans with his antics in the February 3 game against the Pens. As a die hard Islanders fan, I feel entitled to make the following judgements: Rick DiPietro, at his best, is a good goalie; not a great goalie as he believes, but just adequate. I will speak for the fans when I say that he should stay in the crease. Every time he leaves his position, the Islanders and their fans all cringe. He has a reputation as a good puck handler; unwarranted, I believe. He is athletic and mobile enough to leave the crease and play the puck to his defenseman, but as many times as he makes a good play, he mishandles the puck. He's left the net open while he flails around on the ice trying to recover. He puts the puck into a place where the opponent can pick it right off. He has aggresively raced an opposing forward to the incoming puck, once resulting in the concussion that sidelined him for the season.

This once-rising NHL star has let in more soft goals than he should have. He hit the jackpot and broke the mold when he signed his 15 year deal, but has not played enough or well enough to justify his salary. In my humble opinion.

DL, NYC, Cooke plays a game that is intended to get under the opponents' skin. He has levied dirty hits in the past, for which he has been suspended, fined, and made to answer for by his opponents on the ice. Believe me, I hate to let Cooke off the hook, but in this case DiPietro clearly initiated this particular incident by laying a shoulder on the passing Cooke. With 16 seconds remaining in a shutout loss, DP should not have started this melee. As far as calling out Johnson, that was equally, if not more, stupid. DP was trying to walk the walk that he talks with his swagger. There was no upside to this instigation. A fight in the game is usually to settle a score or to energize the team or crowd. Maybe lay the ground work for the next match. Ricky opened his big mouth and Johnson closed it for him.

WallaWalla - I hate to admit that I would not have minded if DP was deactivated - not hurt, because that's not nice, but I would like to see him gone.

Paul of Bellerose, I'm also a die hard Rangers fan (yes I can, but that's a post for another time). I watched the Staal/Prust incident, and I am pretty sure that Prust took an uncharacteristic dive. He's tougher than that, but I think he knew it was to his advantage to not get in a fight with Jordan Staal. Prust got what he wanted in a power play, and Staal got the gate for the rest of the game. That's better than a KO.

JAE - yes, the Pens certainly have made more than their share of 'questionable' hits this season. I disagree with you in that I do view them as a team that is dirtier than most. I could never understand why Malkin hasn't been called out for so many dirty hits and elbows in the corners. Cooke is Cooke. Rupp takes liberties and Crosby whines (although less than he used to), and Talbot skates on the edge.KMiller, I don't know that we can hang the whole Lighthouse project on DP's failings, and maybe we're off to KC, but a winning product on the ice speaks loudly to the economic concerns of the Islanders' surrounding entities. Personally I don't think the Lighthouse project unreasonable. For the Town of Hempstead to 'cherry pick' the parts they want and not allow the developer to build the entire creation is unreasonable.It has recently been reported that the majority of the members of the NHL Players' Association listed the Islanders organization as the team that they'd least like to join. [see Nabokov]

Yes, kudos to Johnson for laying off after the KO. Don't hold out the medals, however, because that is in the unstated rules of engagement on the ice, and usually honored. The 'new' NHL holds its own official rules regarding altercations, when a player can join in, when he cannot, where the defensemen can go in the offensive zone when a scrum ensues near the goal line, and even how many fights can take place at one time. Gone are the days of the 'bench clearing brawl.' A penalty is assessed to players that take part in a fight when one is already in progress. But the players observe their own unwritten laws that include stopping the attack when the opponent is down.

I've been an Islander fan since before their dynasty. I'm old enough to have seen the evolution of the NHL game to what it is today. It's almost embarassing to wear the Islanders jersey out, but I do anyway. And so I feel that I can fairly say, in my opinion, that DiPietro has to go. His ego and swagger are not matched by his performance. The Isles' big weakness is in nets, and has been for the last several years. Theirs is a very young team, filled with talent and energy, motivation and desire. We need good goaltending.The Penguins take cheap, dirty shots, and more often than the average team. And I watch all the teams.Let's go Islanders! (but not to KC!)