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DP: I'll Be Back...and at My Best

by Staff Writer / New York Islanders

Rick DiPietro
In an interview with at the Coliseum today, Islanders all-star goaltender Rick DiPietro confirmed his doctor’s report that he will be at 100% well before the start of training camp in September. DiPietro had hip surgery last month.

“I didn’t want to end my season early, but deep down I know it was the best thing for me,” DiPietro said this morning on team breakup day, as players filed in for physicals and meetings with the coaching staff. “Last summer when I had surgery on the other hip after the playoffs, in a perfect world I could have used more time to work on some things in the summer. Getting it done early gives me more than enough time so I can be at my best before training camp even starts.”

DiPietro acknowledged he wasn’t at his best after the All-Star Break. “I’m not going to lie about it,” he said. “But I’m also not going to use it as an excuse. I did the best I could and we worked with it until it didn’t make sense to push it any more. My focus now is next season. Everyone knows what playing for this franchise means to me, and I’m very excited about a lot of what I saw in the final weeks. If you combine the young players who made the most of their opportunity in the last month, and we get players like Brendan Witt, Chris Campoli, Jon Sim and Mike Sillinger back, we’re going to have a very good team.”

The goaltender offered his thoughts on some of the Islanders’ young players:

On Kyle Okposo: “I thought he showed right from his first game what he’s made of. You’d think it might take a while, but Kyle looked like belonged the moment he stepped on the ice for us. He’s got something special. I’m sure he’ll be a big part of this team for a long time.”

On Jack Hillen: “How can you not be impressed with that kid? Adrenaline can only take you so far. Jack makes his debut with back-to-back games against the Rangers after just finishing his college playing career. You could tell he has excellent skills. I’m sure he’ll work real hard in the offseason to make an impression in training camp.”

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