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Tasca's Take

No Meaning

Rick DiPietro's first AHL game after clearing waivers was a disaster, to say the least.  The former Boston University standout suited up for Bridgeport tonight, giving up five goals on 12 shots in the first period against Connecticut. 

The fifth and final goal was by far the worst of them all.  Mike Fornabaio explains:

And yup, he goes out, plays the puck, “miscommunication,” he said, it slides away on his backhand, the puck pinballs around, and still, if it doesn’t hit Kirill Kabanov’s skate, maybe it stays out and it’s only 4-0 after one instead of 5-0. “At the end of the day, when it rains, it pours,” DiPietro said.

This is not to say DiPietro’s going to bounce back. This is not to say DiPietro was fantastic. This is not to say DiPietro looked like his old self. This is not to say this was a good night.

It’s just to say that this is no night to make grand statements about Rick DiPietro. I know we want ‘em on Day 1. But it’s not.

Chris Peters offers his take on DiPietro's horrific performance:

Backtracking aside, it was a sobering reminder of the sometimes crushing pressure professional athletes can face, especially when their abilities go south.

The oft-injured DiPietro has been the subject of ire due to his massive 15-year, $67.5- million contract. In a career that has been marked by far more valleys than peaks, tonight's start is another forgettable low.

The mounting pressure of making that kind of money for that long, the bad luck of continually getting injured and being part of a losing franchise can certainly take its toll. The last few years have made it difficult to remember that DiPietro is a former first overall pick and was a solid NHL goaltender before the injuries piled up.

I was at the game, and it was sad watching DiPietro get torn apart, not just by the opposing team, but the fans.  The Hartford faithful taunted Ricky mercilessly throughout the 20 minute onslaught.  It was so bad, in fact, that DiPietro decided to sit in the corridor leading to the Bridgeport dressing room for the remainder of the game, choosing to avoid the seat by the glass normally reserved for the backup goaltender.

While the vast majority of Islander fans will scoff at the notion of offering DiPietro any kind of sympathy, it's hard not to feel for a guy who's career has absolutely bottomed out.  Money may not be a concern for Ricky, but the fact that he's been shipped to the minors to seemingly play out the string until the Isles buy him out is a devastating psychological blow.

For most of us, a job is part of our identity.  That's why people who enjoy their respective careers enjoy going to work so much.  Performing a job well is incredibly satisfying not only because it supplies us with an income, but because it confirms the idea that we're doing something meaningful in the world. 

At this point, the hockey career of Rick DiPietro is anything but meaningful.  He's reached the crossroads, and if Friday's performance is any indication, it appears as if he's sinking down.

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petshark's avatar

He should give Nitty a call.  Nitty didn’t like being sent down either.  Or Leighton, Leighton would be better to talk to.  He knows how to cope with this very well. 

Truthfully, the minors will be a good place for DiPietro to decide whether it’s worth it.  Drop the window dressing of the NHL, play with guys who have never had and probably never will have the perks of the big league, and he can remember what the heck this is all about.  Then he can figure out if he still wants to do it.  If he wants to, he probably can.

Posted by petshark from Nor Cal, and on Twitter @petshark47 on 03/02/13 at 02:14 AM ET

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About Tasca's Take

Tasca's Take is written by Joe Tasca. Born and raised in Westerly, Rhode Island, Joe works as a broadcaster for seven radio stations in southern New England. Whether that's a testament to his on-air ability or because he has a desparate need for money is debatable.

Joe spends his summers playing golf, enjoying the beauty of Misquamicut Beach, and wining and dining girls who are easily awed by the mere presence of a radio personality. During the winter months, he can usually be found taking in a hockey game somewhere in North America. In the spring, he spends much of his time in botanical gardens tiptoeing through the tulips, while autumn is a time to frolic with his golden retrievers through piles of his neighbors’ leaves.

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