The End of the Rick DiPietro Era

Posted in Islanders on February 23, 2013 by EAST SIDE RYNO

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2/22/13 – 11:33am: Islanders place goalie Rick DiPietro on Waivers

It’s hard to believe that the DiPietro era is coming to an end for the New York Islanders. For seven years, Islanders fans have been tortuned by the most infamous deal in sports history. When the Isles signed Rick DiPietro prior to the 2006 season for 15 years, $67.5 million, it seemed like an absurd deal. But at the time, DiPietro looked like he was well on his way to becoming a franchise goaltender. He was the first overall pick in the 2000 NHL draft and by 2005 he was heading into his prime as an NHL goalie. He started 63 games in 2005-06 and 30 games. In the 2006-07 season (the first season of his new contract), he was one of hockey’s best goal-tenders with a 32-19-9 record and an impressive 2.58 GAA. But that was the last positive season DP would ever have in an Islanders uniform. Instead of explaining this disastrous career, here’s  a timeline of DiPietro’s career since the 2007 season:

March 13, 2007: DiPietro suffers concussion vs. Montreal

DiPietro collides with Canadiens’ forward Steve Begin while trying to poke check. He would return four games later, but sustain another concussion against the Rangers later in the season. DiPietro returned for the first round playoff series against Buffalo, but the Isles were eliminated in five games.

2007 off-season: DiPietro undergoes surgery to fix a torn labrum in his hip

DiPietro came back healthy for the 2007-08 season. He finished the season with a 26-28-7 record and a 2.82 GAA. DP was also named the Eastern Conference starting goaltender in the 2008 NHL All-Star Game. The Islanders failed to make the playoffs.

June 3, 2008: DiPietro undergoes knee surgery

Missed the first four games of the season, but returned for the fifth game at Florida. During his third game back, DiPietro left the game with an “undisclosed lower body injury.”

November 1, 2008: DiPietro Undergoes Second Knee Surgery

DiPietro gets a second knee surgery on the same meniscus that was repaired the previous June. DiPietro returned for one more game late in December 2008, but then sat out the rest of the season due to re-injuring his knee.

January 8, 2010: DiPietro Returns to the Ice for the First Time in Over a Year

DiPietro would lose 5 of his 7 starts in the 2009-10 season. His final start was on February 6th in a loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. I had the pleasure of watching that blowout behind the net.

February 13, 2010: DiPietro listed as Day-to-Day with the Flu / Swelling of Left Knee

Done for the season.

December 21, 2010: DiPietro placed on Injured Reserve due to Knee Swelling

Eight days later, DP miraculously returns and defeats the Penguins!

February 2, 2011: “The Fight” – Out Indefinitely

In the waning seconds of a terrible Islanders game at Pittsburgh, DiPietro engaged in a goalie-goalie fight against Brent Johnson. Not knowing that Johnson was a lefty, DP was knocked out with one punch. DiPietro was out for 4-6 weeks with a swollen jaw, and of course – swelling in his left knee.

November 2011: Injures Groin – Out for Season

DiPietro started the 2011-12 strong with a solid 25 save performance against the Capitals. But shortly after, DiPietro was sidelined with a groin injury. He later underwent surgery to repair a hernia in the groin region; therefore missing the remainder of the season.

February 22, 2013: DiPietro Placed on Waivers

From 2008-2012, Rick DiPietro played in a total of 47 games for the Islanders. This deal has ultimately made the Isles’ front office a laughing stock in the NHL. No team in their right mind would pick up an injury prone goaltender who’s guaranteed more money than almost anyone in the league, so Rick is likely headed to AHL -Bridgeport. There have been rumors circulating that the Islanders are looking to buy out his contract at the end of the year. If so, maybe this organization can put this terrible decision behind them and look to the bright future.

Sidenote

DiPietro may have been a bust, but whoever throws a punch at Sean Avery is a hero in my book:

The Return of the NHL

Posted in Islanders on January 19, 2013 by EAST SIDE RYNO

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It’s Christmas Eve everyone – the start of the 2013 NHL season is upon us. I can’t remember the last time I was this excited for a season to start. Obviously, Opening Day and Week 1 of the NFL season are always marked on my calender, but this night feels different. A new NHL season is about to begin, a shortened season that was days away from being canceled. Just three weeks ago, I remember reading that it was doubtful there was going to be any hockey this year. But now here we are, about to start a wild 48 game-season.

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Joe Sakic and the 1995 Quebec Nordiques shocked the hockey world

I realize that the lockout has pissed all of us off, but maybe this was for the good. Hockey isn’t even close to being as popular as the other three major sports, so maybe a shortened season is just what it needs. Even though there are fans who say they will never forgive the NHL for having another lockout, I strongly believe the fans will be back stronger than ever. More is on the line each game, which mean teams will be playing harder. The game will be played much better granted these players won’t have to go through a grueling 82 game-season. This entire year will almost have a playoff feel to it since no team can afford to go through a slump. I remember prior to the 1995 season, the Quebec Nordiques weren’t supposed to be that special of a team. They finished with a weak 76 points in the 93-94 season and finished 11th in the East. But in the strike-shortened 94-95 season, Quebec started the season on fire and never looked back. Ultimately they finished the season with a 30-13 record and clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference. So let’s watch out for some of the unexpected teams this season to pull off some surprises.

I’ve noticed a number of analysts have picked the Islanders to finish dead last in the East this season. I’ve been looking at our extremely thin roster and I’ve got to admit, I can’t disagree with them. On paper, this Isles’ team is awful. There’s one star player (John Tavares), one solid winger (Matt Moulson), and one good defenseman (Mark Streit). Starting goaltender Evgeni Nabokov is getting old, right winger Kyle Okposo needs to prove he can be respected in this league, and Travis Hamonic has some potential to be a trusted defenseman. And the rest of the team is terrible. Let’s not forgot that Lubomir Visnovsky, one of the best players on our roster, doesn’t even want to report to the Islanders and has decided to stay in Slovakia with his family until further notice. Tomorrow night, there will be three defenseman that will be making their NHL debut for the Islanders. I hate to say it, but this could be an embarrassing four months of hockey in Uniondale. But remember, it’s a shortened season. These young AHL-lifers are in mid-season form. Maybe this Isles team can start off hot and never look back! Who knows?

Tomorrow night I will be thoroughly celebrating this memorable 2013 NHL season at the glorious Nassau Coliseum as my beloved Islanders take on the Devils at 7pm.

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It’s gonna feel good to be back

#8: New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Posted in Giants, Top 10 New York Sports Rivalries on July 15, 2012 by EAST SIDE RYNO

In the last five years, this has been the biggest rivalry in football. Yes, you can argue that Ravens/Steelers or Jets/Patriots rivalries have been significant, but I’ve never seen two franchises hate each other as much as the Eagles and Giants in my lifetime.

The Eagles and Giants rivalry dates all the way back to 1933, but the hatred between these teams didn’t start until the 1940’s when Philadelphia started to have a winning franchise. The Eagles would win back-to-back NFL championships in 1948 & 1949, while adding another in 1960. In 1960, in a regular season matchup, Eagles linebacker Chuck Bednarik famously blindsided Giants’ star running back Frank Gifford, causing Gifford to retire (for the time being). In 1978, the Giants were leading the Eagles 17-12 with just 20 seconds remaining. But instead of taking a knee, the G-Men decided to run one more running play. Quarterback Joe Pisarcik fumbled the hand-off to running back Larry Czonka, allowing Eagles cornerback Herman Edwards to pick up the ball and run into the end zone for a game-winning touchdown. For Eagles fans, this game is known as the “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” while for Giants fans it’s know simply as “The Fumble.”

Given how close New York and Philadelphia are to each other and how passionate the fans are for these historic teams, this rivalry deserves to be on this list. Here are some of the top games in the last twenty years between the Eagles and G-Men:

October 31, 1999 – Strahan Wins it in OT

On a cold Halloween night at the Vet, the Giants marched into Philly with a 4-3 record. The Eagles were struggling at the time with rookie Donovan McNabb starting at quarterback and led by first-year head coach Andy Reid. This game would turn out to be a classic. With the Giants down 17-3 heading into the fourth quarter, the Giants would score twice to tie the game. In overtime, Giants defensive lineman Christian Peter tipped McNabb’s pass which landed in the hand of the Michael Strahan. The all-pro defensive end picked off the pass and returned it for a touchdown sealing the comeback victory.

January 7, 2001 – Sehorn’s Pick-Six Leads Giants to NFC Championship

In the 2000 season, the NFC East rivals met in the  NFC Divisional Playoffs. The heavily favored Giants began the game with a 97 yard kick-off return by Ron Dixon, and they didn’t look back. In one of the most memorable plays in Giants playoff history, G-Men cornerback Jason Sehorn made an acrobatic interception and returned it for a touchdown. The Giants would go on to win the game 20-10 and march onto the NFC Championship.

January 7, 2007 – Eagles Knock off Giants with Akers’ Game-Winning Field Goal

Exactly six years after the Giants defeated the Eagles in the playoffs, Philadelphia would get redemption. In the 2006 Wild Card match-up, the Giants headed to the Linc as the heavy underdogs. The Giants looked promising at the beginning of the 2006 season with a 6-2 record. But after finished the second half the season at an abysmal 2-6, the G-Men found themselves crawling into the playoffs. Meanwhie, the Eagles were hottest team in the NFL in November and December. With McNabb out for the season, backup quarterback Jeff Garcia led Philadelphia to five straight victories to close out the season and clinch the NFC East. The Giants would give the Eagles a good fight in the playoffs, but the Eagles would go on to prevail with a game-winning field goal by David Akers as time expired.

December 19, 2010 – Miracle at the Meadowlands 2

Nothing new to write here – just read the article on 5BS from when it happened.

September 25, 2011 – Giants shock Dream Team

After a phenomenal offseason by the Eagles given the signings of Cullen Jenkins, Nnamdi Asomugha, and Vince Young, Philadelphia was self-proclaimed the “Dream Team.” The Giants, on the other hand, looked like a team in turmoil. Having lost their starting cornerback Terrell Thomas and linebacker Jonathan Goff to season-ending injuries, and having lost starting tight end David Boss and wide receiver Steve Smith to free agency, the Giants looked a team destined for the NFC East cellar. But in week 3, the GMen went into the Linc and stunned the Eagles with a 29-16 victory. The Giants would go on to win the Super Bowl while the Eagles failed to make the playoffs.

Greetings from Citi Field on Memorial Day

Posted in Mets on May 28, 2012 by EAST SIDE RYNO

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Embarrassing

Posted in Giants on May 11, 2012 by EAST SIDE RYNO

This ruined my day

Greetings from the Kentucky Derby

Posted in Not in New York on May 3, 2012 by EAST SIDE RYNO

Never been the biggest fan of horse racing, but this place is pretty cool. Downtown Louisville isn’t too shabby either. Check it out sometime.

Home of Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals

Downtown Louisville

Downtown on 4th Street

#9: New York Rangers vs. New York Islanders

Posted in Islanders, Rangers, Top 10 New York Sports Rivalries on April 26, 2012 by EAST SIDE RYNO

Dennis Potvin’s hit on Ulf Nilsson upgraded this Rivalry from a Battle to a War

Most people in my generation remember the intense Devils / Rangers rivalry in the mid to late 1990’s. When the Rangers and Devils faced off in the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals, it went down as one of the greatest series in NHL history. The Blue Shirts went on the defeat the Devils in seven games ending with Rangers’ forward Stephane Matteau scoring in overtime to win the series. But in the following season, the Devils would bounce back and win a Cup of their own.

The Devils/Rangers rivalry was one of the greatest rivalries in hockey, but it doesn’t even compare to the historic Rangers/Islanders rivalry dating back to 1975. Even though the Islanders franchise has had the reputation as one of the worst teams in the NHL since 1996, this New York hockey rivalry remains strong to this day. The Islanders franchise was established in 1972, but they were the laughing stock of the NHL in their first three seasons. In 1975, they made the playoffs for the first time and faced the heavily favored Rangers in the first round. The series would go to a third and decisive game at the Garden and overtime, Isles’ forward J.P Parise (son of Devils star Zach Parise) would score the series-clinching goal to oust the Rangers. The Islanders advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals, but eventually would lose to the Flyers. Nonetheless, the “Battle of New York” officially ignited.

The two teams would meet again in the playoffs in 1979, this time the Islanders being the heavy favorites. But the Blue Shirts stunned the Isles by eliminating them in six games. In the 1980’s, the Islanders would gain their vengeance on the Rangers by simply dominating the rivalry. The Isles would go on to play the Rangers in the playoffs every year from 1981-1984 and win every series. During this time, the Islanders won four straight Stanley Cups (one more than the Rangers’ three at the time). In the 90’s the Rangers finally had bragging rights by defeating the Islanders in 1990 and 1994, and of course winning the Cup in ’94 as well.

Ken Morrow’s OT Goal vs. the Rangers in the 1984 playoffs was ranked the most famous goal in New York Hockey History

The one player in the center of this heated rivalry from 1975-1994 was the Islanders’ Hall of Fame defenseman Dennis Potvin. In 1979, Potvin put a hard hit on Rangers’ center Ulf Nilsson, which Rangers fans claim was one of the dirtiest hits in hockey (apparently it was a clean hit). After the hit, Nilsson was never the same player again. The Battle of New York was also home to some of the grittiest fights in hockey history. Who can forget the classic fights between Clark Gillies and Ed Hospodar?

Today the Battle of New York  is still in full bloom as the Garden continues to chant “Potvin Sucks” during any games of the season. With the Islanders improving, let’s look forward to this rivalry to gain even more heat in the next few years.