The sounds of progress for the Islanders include the one-syllable epithet Rick DiPietro let loose when a puck finally got by him Tuesday. Before Jeff Tambellini put one in on the top shelf, the goalie had stopped everything in the first high-speed shooting drill of his knee rehab. DiPietro still is far from thinking about playing in a game, but he was feeling good enough to think about perfection.
He took a step Tuesday, on the ice with a half-dozen skaters, mostly players coming back from injuries or just needing extra ice time. Before that, he had taken shots mostly in a controlled environment. This time, the players were trying to score and they were skating hard.Look for DiPietro to be back by mid-season. My hope is by Christmas. If he's only playing 47 minutes now, he is not ready by any protocal the Islanders have him on. For now the most important, long term idea is to have him ready at 100%. When he is, Biron will be the most sought out goaltender because all the other teams need a starter and the Islanders will not miss a beat with DP and Roloson between the pipes.
They did breakaways, they stood in various spots and took turns shooting at him, they did curls around orange cones and fired shots. DiPietro stopped most of them and expected to stop all of them.