Days after being placed on waivers by the New York Islanders, Rick DiPietro and his $4.5 million cap hit met with the media as he became the newest member of the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
With Evgeni Nabokov taking a heavy workload through the first half of the season, DiPietro was sent down to get him games, having been bypassed on the organization's depth chart.
"The last couple of years, with all the injuries, if it's taught me anything, it's that I need to enjoy what I do," DiPietro said. "It's a good opportunity to play a lot of games and get sharp. At the end of the day, you want to compete. You want to win. That's what I want to do."
Speaking with News 12 Long Island's Kevin Maher, DiPietro gave an emotional response to how he took the news that the Islanders were waiving him. DiPietro told Maher ,"they ripped my heart out, stabbed it, set it on fire and flushed it down the toilet."
The numerous injuries on top of the albatross of a contract turned DiPietro into a target for Islanders fans. The "DiPi!" chants inside Nassau Coliseum were few and far between once he became known as an oft-injured goaltender. The fans turning on him and the lack of success on the ice led DiPietro to have suicidal thoughts at one point, he told Maher, something he mentioned, "half-jokingly" at the end of last season.
DiPietro said that he feels healthy and hopes that the injuries are behind him. At this point, he'll never live up to the 15-year, $67 million contract he signed back in 2006; really, he may never even get back to playing in the NHL. With NHL teams allowed two compliance buyouts between this summer and next, the Islanders could use one of them on the remaining 8-years, $36 million years of DiPietro's contract, a decision that you would think GM Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang have at least thought about.
UPDATE: DiPietro tells Brett Cyrgalis of the New York Post that he was being facetious in making the suicide comment, but said, "There have been times that I've been depressed".
UPDATE: 6 p.m ET: Here's video, via News 12, of DiPietro's comments. The comment about him driving into a tree/off the Throgs Neck Bridge come at the 40-second mark. He made a similar comment to the New York Times in April:
Meanwhile, Snow released a statement this afternoon via the Islanders:
“We are aware of Rick’s comments today and the severity of them. We will handle them internally as we do with all player matters. This is an opportunity for Rick to play lots of games in Bridgeport.”
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy
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