"He's here now, though, and he'll be in Nassau Coliseum on Saturday when the Isles open the 2011-12 season against the Panthers. Barring an injury, Strome won't play in that game, or likely in any regular- season games, which may seem like an odd decision in keeping the 18-year-old around.
But he's staying to learn by watching rather than by doing.
"He's learned a lot so far, from the rookie camp to the rookie games to playing games against NHL players in the preseason, and we want him to keep on learning, being around all our guys," coach Jack Capuano said. "He's one of those kids who gets it. He understands, he evaluates himself and he knows he's here to soak it all up."
DP is a lightning rod for criticism from a beaten-down fan base, obviously, but I'd like to make a couple of points. For the record, I think DiPietro WAS a fantastic goalie (with a few faults) and was on his way to something special until he got hurt....but fast forward to today and guess what, I think he MAY BE the best goalie at camp.
I haven't heard anyone say that Montoya was the best goalie in camp. Based on what I saw in the pre-season (yes, small sample) DiPietro played like a #1 goalie.
I think playing the most RELIABLE goalie isn't necessarily the way to go. What do you mean by reliable anyway? Are you talking about consistent output? or reliability to stay healthy? My point is that DiPietro MAY BE the NYI best option to win games as of today. He might be the best goalie. He probably won't stay healthy, but when he's NOT healthy, the coach scratches him and goes with the next best (not the next healthiest).
I believe you're doubting DiPietro's ability as a goalie, based on recent history. Completely fair. But what if he's finally healthy ENOUGH to play CLOSE to what he used to play like? And what if THAT LEVEL is better than Montoya or Nabokov? Some fans are so blinded by the DP saga that they are unable to see what's right in front of them.
If he's NOT the best goalie, then he should sit or be sent down, no problem there. Last year, he wasn't the best goalie, that was obvious. He was also injured a lot. This year, he's been great, not a distraction, just played well. Why can't that be a good news story? How can there be so much allegiance to Montoya after a half-season? or Nabokov who's treated this organization like a plague until he was re-born over the summer? I don't get it.
And let's be perfectly frank, the "team we love" isn't exactly doing fans any favours and it doesn't start or end with DiPietro.
The cap hit is needed for the cap floor - shameful
The performance bonuses to fringe players is embarrassing - used only to reach the cap floor.
Rolston was traded for NOT for leadership or to help the PP. He was on waivers TWICE last year, even at re-entry price-tag Snow didn't feel he could have helped the team. The only reason he was added was to reach the cap floor THIS YEAR, shedding some money owed to Hunter next season.
The organization has done NOTHING to show any commitment to the fans or to winning anything. Building through the draft, well that's been sold through to a desperate fan base that was depleted of all talent, all pride, all prior glory - not surrounding young players with proper support, setting them up for failure. Yet many fans turn a blind eye to what's so obvious a slap in the face.
So it's getting close to game 1. I'm excited about the season. I love the young players on this team, I like all the players on the roster right now. This is the best team I've seen since Yashin played on the team (and I don't mean his cap hit). I don't think it's a playoff team. There are huge holes on the roster, completely unaddressed, like the past three summers - but I'll remain a loyal fan, cautiously optimistic about this year and next.
DiPietro is a red herring. The problems with this team are with the ownership and the lack of desire or commitment to build a winner.
redbull, i love reading your posts....this post couldnt be more spot on
i can see dipietro having a great year this year....he might not play 65 games but i can see him turning a corner...when is the last time his current health has not been in question (please dont say he can get injured after 2 games...thats is not what im debating...im talking current)
Why it gives him a chance to learn and feel like he is part of the team without losing his confidence by being manhandled by nhl players. I think it will be great for him and more valuable practice experience then he would get by playing a few extra games in juniors.
First, I appreciate your reasoning behind your disdain for DiPietro on this team. You're not like some disgruntled fans that simply can't stand him, want him gone, are tired of his antics and simply want him outta the picture. I respect your viewpoint, I don't care to or intend to change your mind at all - we are free to disagree.
It's hard to have a constructive dialog on DP on this board - there's just too much animosity around that player.
But a few comments below....
Originally Posted by Caustic Acrostic
To the bolded, there's a meeting point between consistent output, safely predictable decision-making and health that can aid the other players on the team. While this is just one guy's opinion, I find that on quite a few occasions it seems that DP's teammates don't know how to react when he plays the puck or leaves the crease, because they can never tell when he'll do it, because he often couldn't likely tell you when he'd do it himself.
On this we completely agree. DiPietro's never learned how to maximize his excellent puck-handling SKILLS. He's got great ability to handle the puck but that's useless unless you know how to use it effectively. Brodeur does, DiPietro doesn't.
I personally like the way he moves the puck, for the most part, but he's just too prone to mistakes. Mistakes can't be tolerated in defensemen (Reese, Gervais, Wishart) and the same (if not more) should apply to your goalie.
That said, Nabokov is far worse than DiPietro in that part of the game!
Whatever level he's at, we know his most probable pattern. He'll play like a better-than-just-good goalie shaking off the rust for 3-8 games and then BANG, injury. Continuity on a roster is nice to have, and since waiving Montoya or Nabokov would almost definitely result in losing them, why wouldn't the team move the asset least likely to get claimed? Wouldn't it be better to DP warmed up AND showing what he's still got on the Bridge, considering that with goalies it's often better to keep a certain frequency to the amount of games one starts? With a certain likelihood that DP will need a breather at some point, I hold to the opinion that there's more to gain by Nabby & Montoya starting by splitting games half & half on the Island with DP & Poulin splitting time half & half in the AHL with Nilsson ready to jump up & fill in - at least for starts. This way NO goalie needs time to 'shake off much rust' when taking a start, since they'll all be getting roughly even seasoning with rank to be determined by outcome.
This injury history applies to almost the whole roster - has for years. Martinek, Jurcina, Nielsen, Okposo, Streit, MacDonald, etc. Can this team stay healthy? Is it luck? Is it poor conditioning? Is it the fact that we're simply a weak team, outmatched all over the ice, so we are susceptible to injuries because we're always defending? So it's more likely that Hillen gets a shot off the face?
Not sure what the answer is.
On the goalie though, it's probably true he'll get hurt. But I'm more concerned with how he plays when he's healthy. Last year, he was awful when he played. This year, he's been far better. Yes, it's pre-season, but he's been moving really well, he seems far quicker, hasn't experienced any swelling or set-backs - I think it's OKAY TO BE POSITIVE about this story and not predict doom.
For ONCE, DiPietro's healthy and playing well, he's NOT a weakness on this team. Unlike Parenteau on the 1st line and a giant hole in the top 2 defensemen.
Regarding any allegiance to Montoya, he's a goalie in his prime who looks like he can eat some starts without too much 'fail' who looked better than DP last year.....I'd rather define this opinion as recognition of a job done fairly well more so than allegiance. Even if it were born of allegiance, going by last year's statistics alone (I know, I'm doing it again....) I'd be picking the stronger goalie at those moments recent enough to give insight, since Montoya looked "better than just 'okay'" last year and DP was most often not capable of the kind of play he's expected by so many to provide.
I wouldn't say Montoya's in any "prime" - he had a good half-year after a career in the minors. So did Parenteau. So did Moulson. Steve Mason once looked like the next Patrick Roy. Carey Price went from hero to goat to hero. Is James Reimer a #1 goalie now.
Goalies are very volatile and unpredictable. Montoya's done very little for me to think he's a better option than a healthy DiPietro. Of course, NEITHER is ideal. Even Nabokov (who's definitely got the best track record at the position) has also looked good and it's possible he's the best option.
I don't think there's a clear cut favourite to be the #1 goalie. I think we probably have three #2 goalies. It's better than the two #4 goalies we had a few years ago, so let's celebrate the small step forward....but it remains to be seen who will emerge as the best one.
To a degree.....but healthy, dependable goaltending out of the gate could go a long way to helping. It's easier to fix a deficiency when you minimize the unknown quantities, and any goalie with a penchant for the unpredictable can easily inject those variable into a game at a moment's notice. It's easier to focus on, analyze and compensate for one deficiency than three, and this team could be icing a largely inexperienced forward group, a largely inexperienced and/or fragile defense corps and a goalie who makes decisions that the players often seemed to get confused by.
More than health, we need ABILITY and TALENT in goal - and in all positions. Goaltending (regardless of which of the three) will not be a weakness relative to the defense.
The Isles are a lottery team this year unless a lot goes right. In goal, on defense, with health, the team NEEDS emergence from Tavares, Grabner, Okposo, Hamonic just to hope for a playoff spot. DiPietro's just one of those guys, the same applies to the other two goalies.
I believe Capuano will play the better goalie. I just happen to think, this year, DiPietro might actually be the better goalie.
To the final bolded sentences, I gently disagree with both. 11 years ago, a player of Tavares' caliber would have been traded to Anaheim for Jean-Francoise Jomphe & two 1st round picks. If nothing else, Snow is accumulating some worthwhile talent, even if it is on the bargain bin plan - insomuch as those players most often are intended as stop-gaps. Years ago, we had Mats Lindgren, David Harlock and Cliff Ronning as stop-gaps, after which we had Comrie, Chris Simon & Bill Guerin. Now, it's players that may have enough upside to either stick full time (Grabner) or play full-time before slowly getting relegated to depth (Moulson, Montoya.) Despite the apparent similarity in game plan, the quality, approach and patience of all players involved has vastly improved since it was Milbury calling the shots.
Milbury, as much as I hated him and how he ran the team, never had the luxury of finishing dead last though. His teams made the playoffs, the same cannot be said for this regime. It's shameful that I'm more excited about THIS TEAM than any Milbury team, that's for sure, but this organization hasn't even shown the ability to not be part of a lottery.
It's a far cry from even a playoff berth, let alone a playoff win.
We were 20 points behind the 8th place NYR. 20 points may as well be 100. With no roster upgrades and the praying for health, you CANNOT EXPECT a team to gain that many points over teams that have clearly upgraded in the summer.
We're fooling ourselves if we think Wang/Snow have iced a capable team. They are circumventing the cap floor, let's not forget that.
I'm excited for the season as well- this is the best that the Isles have started off with in years - we totally agree there......but at the crux of this debate, there's a difference - I don't have enough allegiance for for a once-brilliant goalie who has been resplendent with fail three quarters of the time he's been on the ice ever since he started getting injured to willingly pipe down - this is a pivotal season and he does the team a bigger favor asessing his skill and cutting down on the oddities in his game where the Isles don't suffer from probable/possible flaws in his decisions.
Totally fair. You can mistake my viewpoint as allegience to DiPietro but I really think he might be the best goalie option. I think Capuano might feel the same way TODAY.
If something changes and he starts to play like crap, then I have NO PROBLEM with the best goalie playing and I would send DiPietro to the AHL with NO REGRETS. If he's the #3 goalie, he SHOULD SIT.
But I wasn't at camp. I didn't see the practices. In the games I saw, it's very close between the three goalies. I have no problem with either of the three starting game one. Coach's decision.
As for one the organization has or hasn't done, they've tried several times - with Hamhuis, Martin, Ehrhoff, the Nabokov waiting game, but most importantly, ensuring that Tavares, Okposo and Nielsen are here for 5-7 years minimum. If Snow's being extra stingy with picks & players, I'll back his play - it's the dead opposite of what Milbury did to ruin the team, and we won;t have assets to trade for what we need until some of these picks mature into players ready to crack an NHL roster with a strong likelihood of success. Right now, we only like some of these kids because they're talented players that our fave team drafted. The rest of the league, save lottery teams, are pausing and wringing their hands in frustration over missing out on them....and they won't until those players are pushing for a roster spot with more than a lack of depth to help them there.
It's a process that sucks, but to execute a rebuild, my opinion is that if you build from the bottom up, you keep all those high draft picks long enough to gauge their worth, regardless of position....since having 4 LW's that could play on any line (hypothetically) creates redundance.....thus creating a valuable asset far easier to trade than a unique asset.
Trying and failing means nothing.
This just means, we desperately need a #2 defenseman, we are willing to risk a 4th rounder just to TRY and sign player X, if it doesn't work out, we'll sign a 38 year old tryout player. That's worse than plucking someone from waivers IMO.
This isn't the first year the team has done that.
If you have giant holes on your team, and you have cap space, it's your job as a GM to fix those. Or at least try.
It's the THIRD straight off-season where I've predicted a lottery finish SPECIFICALLY because of unaddressed team holes.
This isn't like Brian Burke failing to land a #1C for Kessel. That's a much harder hole to plug. But at least he got Connolly and Lombardi. It might not work (in fact, it probably won't) but isn't it better than signing Doug Weight? or playing Tyler Bozak (oops )?
I'd like to see Snow improve the team with the money he has, rather than give performance bonuses to fringe NHL players and rely on buyout money and DP's contract to reach the cap floor. It's insulting to the league, to the fans, it's a contributor to the team's image around the league that we don't care about winning.
I'm done being negative (and realistic)
It's opening night. I'll be optimistic and cheer like a fan. I'll hope for the best. I'll focus on the positives: Tavares, Grabner, Okposo, Moulson, Bailey, Streit, Hamonic, DiPietro (yes, I consider him healthy and playing well as a positive).