When the Islanders announced that they would cut ties with Rick DiPietro on July 1, 2013, it was not a day of rejoicing for me, a lifetime Islanders fan. Ricky has been through an awful lot, and so have my Islanders. When healthy, he was one of our most energetic (and exciting) players. At the top of his game in 2006-7, he was an electrifying goalie that pulled along a quite unwilling Islanders team to the playoffs for the first time in a half-decade.
Ricky experienced chronic injury - something every professional (and amateur) athlete fears most. We witnessed an elite athlete struggle and fight to stay just healthy enough to play.
Fans may have cringed at seemingly a seemingly jinxed recovery, poor "comeback" performances, and several bone-headed decisions along the way. Rival fans teased us about the super-long contract. Heck, it's why I whipped up this website. Ricky and his struggles became a joke, and I wanted to spin it into a little good humor.
But the one thing nobody can say is that Ricky gave up. He suffered unbelievably bad luck, over and over, but he kept coming back. He was speculated on, joked about, even booed in his home rink. But he kept coming back. He battled hard and tirelessly, and remained shockingly positive for much of his time on the margins of the team he once lead.
So as Ricky looks to make the next step in life - whether it is continuing his fight in the NHL, looking to contribute to hockey in other ways, or maybe finding a brand new path, I'd like to extend my personal thanks for all the effort he put in to my Islanders. It wasn't the best path, but you gave us your all.Good luck Ricky!