Monday, October 17, 2011

Chronicles of DiPietro: The Knees, the Hips, and The Bad Fans

Being a fan outside of New York, often times I feel I get a polarized view of what goes on with it's teams. Everyone loves Jeter. Everyone hates Rodriguez. Nobody knows half of the guys on the Rangers or Islanders. Everyone bleeds Jets and Giants. Everyone looks the other way with the Knicks. Wasn't Patrick Ewing on that team once?

One topic that seems to pop up almost on a daily basis through the various feeds and internet sources that I follow is Rick Dipietro , his health and his contract. I myself am a HUGE New York Islanders fan located on the far east of Canada, in Newfoundland. This year has been a year of wonders for hockey fans here, as we got an AHL team back in the St. John's Ice Caps, the farm team for The Winnipeg Jets. With that we get the Isles farm team, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers visiting for a second time. We had Kraft Hockeyville here with the Jets and Senators facing off in Preseason action. Sadly, our only true real connection to American teams is the Internet, as most TV media we get is Canadian based, and heavily favors Canadian Team's interests.

On the internet feeds I get, I see opinions vary greatly from how fantastic a team is doing to how poorly a team is doing and every step in between. Sadly, I also see a lot of fan's passion get the best of them and they tend to pick on players who aren't performing or capable of performing to their lofty standards. Rick Dipietro's name comes up constantly. Wonky knees. Glass hips. Concussion Master.

Didn't Rick, as recently as 06-07, carry the team that tried to name Alexei Zhitnik and Brendan Witt as it's all star defense to the playoffs with a 32-19 record? 5 Shutouts? The Isles always had a mediocre at best team through the 2000's. They had that fun year waaay back that ended with a playoff loss to the Leafs, but that great series was really a bandaid coverup for what was a thrown together and poorly managed team. Rick has been a pillar for the team for years. When he needs his fans to stick up for him, what does he get? Let's quote right out of today's facebook feed.

Brian Compton from states:
Rick DiPietro has been cleared by doctors and skated this morning. Has not been ruled out for this week's road trip.

You would think after 3 years of injury plagued seasons, with knees, hips, and head injuries, none save for the Brent Johnson knockout his fault, that people would be excited to get back the guy who carried their team through some rough patches and still made them competitive.

Check out the first comment:

(name withheld) there any way we can contact the doctor and have him/her reverse the diagnosis? Al/Nabby are more than adequate for me!

Is it me or is that just plain rude and ignorant? Just last year, even though Dipietro had a tough year, the stands were ablaze with cheers when he ended the 14 game losing streak with a "standing on his head" performance against the New Jersey Devils.  Who was in net for the gigantic shootout with against the Red Wings? Even in a season of doubt, he showed that he still had what it took, he just needed to keep working to get his timing and agility back. 

There were no holdouts for money when he signed his 15 year contract.  This was offered to him. What fool wouldn't take financial freedom and security for the rest of his life? But this contract is slapped on his back like a badge of hate from people who claim to be real fans. It was a result of poor poor management and an owner who wanted to protect his investment from a changing economic climate in the league. Why is it his fault that the team management wanted to give him this money and this security?

Now that Rick is back and healthy, given what he has done for this team, don't you think he deserves a real chance to prove himself? The latest injury could possibly have killed a person. Brian "I shoot hard and have no idea where it's going" Rolston beaned him in the head with a 100 mile and hour slapshot with a 1x3 piece of vulcanized rubber. 

Cut the guy a frigging break. 

Let's turn the corner. Rick hasn't betrayed us. We owe it to him to show he can do it again.