Rick DiPietro is expected to miss 4-6 weeks due to facial fractures suffered in a fight Wednesday and knee swelling, the latest misfortune to befall the oft-injured New York Islanders goaltender.
DiPietro, who played just 13 games over the previous two seasons due to persistent knee injuries, is 7-10-4 in 21 games this season with a 3.36 goals-against average and .890 save percentage for the Isles, who have fallen into last place in the Eastern Conference.
"At this point it's like whatever bad could happen just seems to happen," DiPietro said. "Not just myself, but the entire team. Not just like small groin pulls and muscle strains where you're out a couple days -- it's blown-up hips and knees and faces."
DiPietro joins a long list of injuries for the Islanders that includes fellow goalie Nathan Lawson (knee), defensemen Mark Streit (shoulder) Mike Mottau (hip), Mark Eaton (hip) and Milan Jurcina (upper body) and forwards Doug Weight (back) and Trent Hunter (MCL). Forward Kyle Okposo also missed the first half of the season due to a preseason shoulder injury.
In the closing seconds of a 3-0 loss in Pittsburgh, DiPietro got into a fight with Penguins goalie Brent Johnson, who quickly connected with a punch to DiPietro's face, dropping him to the ice.
"I'm sick of losing, our team's sick of losing," DiPietro said. "You never go into a fight expecting that you're going to get smashed in the face that hard or with these kinds of consequences, but it happens. He landed a good punch and you move on."
DiPietro showed a wry sense of humor in describing the brief, yet damaging altercation.
"I didn't realize, obviously at the time, that his arms were so long or that he could throw such a hard left punch, but I found both of those out pretty quickly," he said.