Nathan Lawson

Islanders activate Rick DiPietro from injured reserve, seeks to avoid punches upon return


Warm up your punchlines everyone, Rick DiPietro is back for the Islanders. New York activated the much maligned goaltender off of injured reserve after he’s missed the last few weeks with a knee injury and facial fractures suffered from his altercation with Penguins goalie Brent Johnson.

DiPietro has once again been on and off the injured list this year leading the Islanders to do awkward and frustrating dances with different goalies this season ranging from Kevin Poulin, to Al Montoya, to Nathan Lawson who was sent down to make room for DiPietro.

DiPietro joins Al Montoya in the crease for the Islanders the rest of the way and while DiPietro’s injuries have been frustrating for the Islanders, making things more frustrating for them is the fact DiPietro had been playing pretty well when he’s been in this year. With Montoya leading the way in goal now the Isles are playing outstanding hockey in the second half of the season. Seeing how DiPietro handles things with a team that doesn’t give up in front of him has the high potential for great entertainment.

We’d be remiss if we neglected to mention that the Islanders also have one more game left this year with Pittsburgh on April 8 in Long Island. We’re hoping that DiPietro at least got a couple boxing lessons during his latest stint on the shelf on the off chance that things get really ugly one more time this year.

Islanders send sixth rounder to Coyotes for goalie Al Montoya


Though their 2010-11 season has produced far inferior results, the New York Islanders can relate to the 09-10 version of the Philadelphia Flyers. That Flyers team experienced a ridiculous parade of injuries to their netminders last season, while the Isles have been hit with wave after wave of bad luck for their group.

On the heels of Kevin Poulin’s freak season-ending injury, the Isles decided to acquire a depth goalie in the form of Al Montoya. The team needed another goalie after injuries to Poulin, Nathan Lawson and Rick DiPietro plus the Dwayne Roloson trade.

The Islanders sent a sixth round pick to the Phoenix Coyotes for a netminder who will either take the place of a called-up minor leaguer or possibly get a few NHL reps himself.

Montoya’s career has been a bit of a disappointment considering the fact that he was a 2004 first round draft pick of the New York Rangers, going sixth overall. He produced mediocre minor league numbers in the Coyotes system this season (11-8 record but only a 89.1 save percentage), but does at least one thing well: moving the puck.

Time will tell if Montoya does something with one more opportunity or if he just acts as a warm body in the Islanders’ injury-ravaged goalie rotation.

Call an exorcist: Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin hurt in warmups, Mikko Koskinen gets surprise start

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The Islanders might want to considering calling in an exorcist at Nassau Coliseum. Before the start of tonight’s game, rookie goalie Kevin Poulin injured his leg during warmups in preparation for tonight’s game with Toronto. Poulin was simply skating in warmups but appeared to catch a rut in the ice and went down. With Poulin out of action, fellow rookie netminder Mikko Koskinen got the call to make his first career NHL start.

Poulin was getting the start tonight because Rick DiPietro is out with facial fractures and a swollen knee after his one-sided fight against Pittsburgh’s Brent Johnson. Nathan Lawson is also out of action for at least another week as he and Poulin are the other guys out of Bridgeport that get the call to be DiPietro’s backup. Koskinen is the fifth goalie to start a game for the Islanders this season joining DiPietro, Lawson, Poulin, and the departed Dwayne Roloson who now starts in Tampa Bay.

While many panned the Islanders for grabbing Evgeni Nabokov off waivers when the Red Wings attempted to sign him, it’s become all too obvious why they tried to get the NHL veteran on the cheap from waivers. Of course, you have to wonder what they might’ve been thinking when Tampa Bay’s Mike Smith went unclaimed on waivers just last week.

For now, the Islanders have to start wondering if part of Charles Wang’s Lighthouse Project is to figure out which curse they’ve unearthed by being located on Long Island. Perhaps the Amityville horror was actually located in Hempstead.

New York Islanders claim Evgeni Nabokov off waivers from Detroit


While the terms of the contract have not yet been confirmed, the New York Islanders claimed goalie Evgeni Nabokov according to Craig Custance. This confirms fears that he wouldn’t get through the process to join the Detroit Red Wings.

Financial details of the deal haven’t become clear just yet, although it sounds like he might have a no trade clause (rumor has it that the Red Wings tried to make him a less desirable waiver claim by placing such a clause in the deal). Joe passed along reports yesterday that it is a one-year deal.

Update: Chris Botta writes that the deal will earn Nabokov about $250,000 for the rest of this season.

The Islanders have been rolling with Kevin Poulin and Rick DiPietro in net with Nathan Lawson filling in during DiPietro’s inevitable injuries since the team traded Dwayne Roloson to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Nabokov brings instant name recognition to the Islanders net and still has some life in his legs at 35. The question is: how will he react to playing behind a leaky defense and with a weak team after years of playing behind superior squads with the San Jose Sharks?

There’s also the possibility that the Islanders might make a further move with Nabokov, but it’s not crazy to wonder if the team might be better off keeping him around at a cheap price. One other thing to consider: some wonder if Nabokov might not report to the cellar dwelling Islanders; if that happens, he won’t be able to play in the NHL this season.

Rick DiPietro returns tonight for Islanders against Buffalo

The recent stretch of games that’s seen the Islanders go with a rookie rotation featuring goaltending luminaries like Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin is about to come to an end. Islander-for-life Rick DiPietro will be starting tonight against Buffalo after missing the last five games with a groin injury. The timing of DiPietro’s latest injury was made more awkward thanks to the Isles trading Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay just two days before that.

Since DiPietro’s injury, the Isles have gone 1-2-2 with their pair of youngsters holding things down in goal. While Nathan Lawson is technically the backup goalie now on Long Island, it was Kevin Poulin who seemed to play better. It’s no coincidence that Poulin earned the Islanders lone victory during DiPietro’s absence. Either way though, the Islanders are opting to go with a very inexperienced backup to play behind the NHL’s seemingly most fragile goaltender.

The Islanders opted to pass on picking up Michael Leighton when he was put on waivers just a couple weeks ago. Signing Leighton would’ve given them an NHL-caliber goalie to split time with DiPietro and start when DiPietro was out with an injury. Apparently his price tag ($1.55 million cap hit this year and next) was too much for the salary cap floor scraping Islanders to want to take on.

As for how long DiPietro lasts this time around, given his myriad of injuries it’s almost impossible to think he makes it to the end of the season without another stint on the injured list.