The Islanders season is three games old and this season already is different from the past few years in quite a few ways.
First of all the Islanders came into this season with a positive on ice outlook for the first time in many years. That in of itself is a major change.
In addition to that the Islanders came into this season with stability, a powerful young offense teeming with potential to improve on a very sucessful second half last year. They have an expereinced veteran defense with a few young stars on the rise and rookies ready to step in if anyone falters or gets injured.
The Islanders also have a lot of depth in goal, with Al Montoya, Rock DiPietro, Evgeni Nabokov all on the main roster with 2 excellent prospects backing them up yes the Islanders are deep, young and very talented.
The offense was non existend against the Panthers on opening night and struck twice in game two against the Minnesota Wild.
Last night the Islanders faced their most skilled opponent yet in the Tampa Bay Lightning and quite simply rolled right over them chasing ex team mate Dwayne Roloson out of the net and beating the Lighting 5-1.
The Islanders first line of Matt Moulson, John Tavares and PA Parenteau skated like they were joined by some new Apple technology bridghing thier brains together and frustrated Tampa's veteran defense which includes Zdeno Chara wanna-be Victor Hedman.
Al Montoya was sharp again stopping 34 of 35 shots and the defense was poised and calm against a high powered offense forcing most shots tot he outside of the prime shooting areas.
Rick DiPietro came into this season healthy for the first time in four years and came in with a much improved attitude knowing that he had a lot of competition in the crease this season. Not only did he come in healthy but he also looked very sharp in pre-season games giving fans hope that he would become the all star goalie again we all know he can be.
Then something very familiar happened.
Brian Rolston hit him in the temple with a shot in practice causing a concussion that has Rick out indefinitely. Is there anyone that you can think of that has had worse luck than Rick? Rick did everything right so far this year and for his troubles gets rung like a bell by a shot in practice.
Rick should stay far away from Atlantic City and Las Vegas because his luck cannot possibly get any worse. The Islander fans while skeptical DP can regain his pre injury form had some hgope with his performance in pre-season. Now they say oh well it is a good thing we have Nabokov now.
I cannot help but feel awful for Rick. Yes that's me, an electrical contractor making a small fraction of what Rick makes feeling bad for a guy who gets to play pro sports and make millions of dollars. All the guy wants to do is play and show everyone he can still be a number one goalie and now this.
I hoe this is not a major issue for Rick and he can come back in quickly and get a few games under his belt. I remain a skeptic, but that does not mean i cant root for the guy.