The NHL season is going strong and the Islanders are playing pretty well. Excepting the embarassing loss to Buffalo, they have been competitive and have managed to win a couple of games.
The immediate concern for me is the health of our franchise goalie Rick DiPietro. They signed him a couple of years back to a 15 year contract. I was very critical of it at the time. His play since then made me rethink my feelings on the contract - but his injuries have got me concerned again.
The teams handling of DiPietro right now is also curious. If he was healthy, he would have played at LEAST 3 of the 4 games they have had so far. Ricky hasn't played a minute of any of them. He looked bad in his only preseason game, so it is not suprising they would not rush him. HOWEVER, if he isn't ready (be it due to his knee, rust, lingering hip issues - whatever) why is he on the bench backing up? Normally if a team is getting shelled like they did in buffalo, you pull the goalie...they didn't. We all know that the isles don't exactly have the guns to come back from a bg deficit, so if it was just getting a little game action THAT would have been a perfect opportunity to get him in there with little on the line.
On the plus side, Trent Hunter with 4 goals is nice to see. He's streaky, and I don't expect 50 goals there - but 4 at this stage is nice! Weight also has 4 pts (2G, 2A) so maybe he's got a little left in the tank. My hopes for this year are to see the development of the young guys. That will take months to evaluate - but that is where the hope of a return to championship hockey lies for this team.
I will be watching...and hoping...but not holding my breath. I am a bit too cynical in my fandom right now!