September 22, 2011

Fischler Report: DiPietro the man with the answers

By Stan Fischler

Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro speaks at a fan rally to support a new arena in July. (photo: Getty) In a candid interview with Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post, Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro (Winthrop, Mass.) offered these thoughts on the following topics:

Dealing with the media:

“You get poked and prodded with enough of the right questions, you’re going to (get) aggravated. Sometimes you feel like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t, just because you don’t want to throw around clichés the whole time. Then there are going to be times when a person’s true feelings come out. You know, that’s what the people want, right? They want you to be real, and show emotion and show you care.”

Pressure because of his long-term contract:

“The bigger the contract, the more pressure there is. Throughout a long-term contract like that, there will be years when you’re underpaid and there will be years when you’re overpaid. That’s just the commitment both sides make. Winning cures everything. The Stanley Cup and being successful here will definitely validate the contract.”
Bouncing back from adversity:

“I put more pressure on myself to be successful than anyone could. It (really) kills me not to be what I expected to be so far. I’m trying to hard now to rectify that.”

GM Garth Snow (Wrentham, Mass.) added this: “I think the best word to describe what Rick has gone through the last few years is resilient. With his resiliency to get back to his level when he was an All-Star, playing 50 games, I give him a lot of credit.”

Goaltending battle with Evgeni Nabokov:

“Hopefully he has a good camp, and, you know, I’m coming to go to work. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business it’s not to take anything for granted. One thing I do every summer -- well, more this summer -- is make sure I come to camp as ready to go as I’ve ever been.”

New Islanders arena:

“The best way to get people to want a new arena or to push for a new arena is to win hockey games and make the playoffs and be successful. That’s everyone’s main focus.”

Observations

* John Tavares’ newly-signed, six-year, $33 million contract indicates that he wants to play for the Islanders “for a long time” and is splendid news for Charles Wang’s organization. On the one hand, it reaffirms that the club’s franchise player likes skating in Uniondale and favors management and the coaching staff led by Jack Capuano.

“This is where I want to live, play and ultimately lead our team to a Stanley Cup,” said Tavares. On top of that Tavares refutes the Canadian columnists who have been suggesting that he wants out of Snow’s team. Likewise, it almost guarantees that John’s linemate -- and close buddy -- Matt Moulson will be skating side by side with Tavares for several seasons.

Evgeni Malkin faces the biggest challenge for any mega star. Minus his captain and colleague Sid Crosby, the Rapid Russian must prove his worth, while pacing the Kid-less Penguins. Since Crosby’s return is as dubious as ever, Malkin becomes the main man in Pitt.

Gossip

* The 39th annual U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony will take place Dec. 12 at the Renaissance Chicago Downtown Hotel in Chicago. Those to be inducted in the Hall as the Class of 2011 are Chris Chelios, Mike Emrick, Ed Snider, Gary Suter and Keith Tkachuk (Melrose, Mass.). The event will be staged in Chicago for the first time ever.

* There is concern in Montreal that Andrei Markov has suffered a setback in his recovery for ACL surgery and questions remain if he will be ready for the start of the season. Markov -- who signed a three-year deal worth $17.5 million -- is a huge risk after tearing his second ACL last December.

* Give Jaromir Jagr credit; he admits he's not sure that he'll be good for more than one season and, therefore, wisely limited his pact to 2011-12. That is, unless he has something up his sleeve that we don't know about. If nothing else, Jagr is canny.

Stan Fischler can be reached at FischlerReport@gmail.com.