If only something would go right for the Islanders. Injuries continue to haunt the once proud franchise. Having already lost top defender Mark Streit for almost the entire year and still minus top power wing Kyle Okposo since training camp, the club will now skate without No.1 goalie Rick DiPietro. This time, DP will miss time due to swelling in his right knee. Quoting Yogi Berra, "It's deja vu all over again," for the career Islander.
The Islanders also lost veteran blueliner Mike Mottau for the rest of the season due to a torn labrum in his right hip after finally being cleared for physical activity following an eye injury which sidelined him for 10 games. The former Devil underwent successful surgery. In 20 contests, he had three assists while logging important minutes on the Isles' back end. Kind of a shame since as it turned out, he was a lot more important to the Devils than first thought. Credit the one-time Ranger draft pick for turning his career around, carving a niche which makes him serviceable.
As for DiPietro, this is nothing new. He's missed significant time before for the same issue, even being shutdown. In 14 games, DP is 4-6-4 with a 3.68 GAA, .880 save percentage and a shutout. Hard to believe that it was over two years ago that he was an NHL All-Star before hip problems forced him to have season ending surgery. It's been an emotional rollercoaster since for the former No.1 overall pick out of BU 10 years ago. A look at some of the stints spent upstairs tells the sad tale:
12/26/08-missed 27 games due to knee surgery
1/2/09-missed 3 games (groin)
4/12/09-missed last 41 games of season due to swollen right knee
1/4/10-missed 33 games due to knee surgery
4/11/10-missed final 22 games of season (left knee injury)
12/21/10-swollen left knee-IR
He sat out during Monday's home shootout loss to Phoenix. Rookie Nathan Lawson debuted making 32 saves. Despite holding up well, he couldn't prevent Martin Hanzal from tying it late and ultimately was lit up in the skill competition- particularly by Kyle Turris, who did a fancy move kicking the puck off his skate before roofing it over Lawson.
The Islanders host the Lightning tonight. So, it doesn't get any easier for Jack Capuano's club that remains 30th overall with 18 points, trailing only the Devils. They'll face them tomorrow night at The Rock in a game before the Christmas Break. That should be interesting.
Does Lawson get the call again tonight? We don't see why not. May as well see what the kid can do.