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THE AHL REPORT: Q&A with Islanders prospect Rick DiPietro

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The whims of the game are sometimes a greater distraction than the playing of the game. Rick DiPietro found that out these past two seasons. Currently he is toiling in Bridgeport with the expansion Sound Tigers. He seems comfortable with the pace at which he is growing his game. It wasn't always that way for a player that only had one year of college hockey to mature at a position that takes years to perfect. But, a strong World Juniors with Team USA left the scouts calculating and NHL GMs wondering. The AHL Report wondered how he was coping with the overload of information. The AHL Report: After a good year at Boston University and couple of good years with the under-18 Team USA squad were you ready to make the jump to the NHL? Rick DiPietro: It would have been nice to stay a couple more years and hone my skills but you act on the advice and it seems still like the right decision. The AHL Report: Who was involved in that decision with you? Did you lean on your family?
NAME: Rick DiPietro
TEAM: Bridgeport Sound Tigers
POSITION: Goaltender
HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 5-foot-11/185 lbs.
CATCHES: Right
BIRTHDATE/PLACE: 9-19-81/Winthrop, MA
DRAFT STATUS: Islanders first round pick (first overall) in 2000 NHL Entry Draft
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RD: For sure! I always have. There were many mornings of them getting up early and getting me to practice. They have to be a part of the decision. The AHL Report: Mornings when you didn't want to go to practice? RD: A lot. Mainly on Saturday morning when the cartoons were on and you just wanted to sit back and do nothing. They were there to remind me of the commitment and the practice I needed. The AHL Report: You left school after one year, will you go back one day and finish your education? RD: I think so. As a hockey player your summers are pretty open. There is the possibility that I could work toward my degree. I might have stayed on if I wasn't projected to go as high as I was. You have no choice when that kind of opportunity presents itself. The AHL Report: How tough was the decision? RD: It took along time. I talked with John Grahame and Steve Valiquette actually came to my house. It came down to the last minute. The AHL Report: Are you frustrated with the progress so far? RD: I don't think so. Last year was a tough year. I was up and down and I found it tough getting comfortable with the pro game. I played some in the IHL and then a few in the NHL. Especially as a young guy on my own I tried to find my way and just when I thought I was going to do that I'd be on the move. The AHL Report: Do you find yourself sometimes looking across the ice and wondering why some of these guys opposite you aren't in the show? And who are the guys that make you shake your head and wonder how good you have to be? RD: You know it's tough as a goaltender. There is a fine line and sometimes you don't control it. You have to have all the tools in this league, too. Look at a guy like Wade Flaherty, he's great and something just keeps him here. It's tough. The AHL Report: Was last year the toughest you spent in hockey? RD: Um? Yeah, I think so. It was just being on my own so much and not feeling like a part of any team I played with. It's totally offset by this year with a great group of guys here. It's a way better feeling. The AHL Report: How close do you think you are to the show? RD: I couldn't tell you. I haven't played in a NHL game recently and I can only really play and try to feel as comfortable as I can right here. Roger Ternan and Todd Crocker are the former broadcast team for the Edmonton Oiler's AHL affiliate in Hamilton, Ontario. Both are contributing editors to Hockey's Future's new Web site, the AHL Report.
Tagged: Islanders, Lightning, Rick DiPietro

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