All of this concussion stuff with Islander goalie Rick DiPietro has been very interesting (he’s not expected back before the playoffs). Ranger goalie Mike Richter’s career was shortened by a concussion and the media never really got a chance to talk about it because Richter was such a popular guy, both with fans and with the media, and because he seemed so heartbreakingly depressed about having to end his career. It was almost like a polite media silence. But now that some time has passed, and with a news hook, a lot of people are revisiting just what went down with Richter’s concussion. And that includes Richter, who spoke to the Daily News this weekend, passing along some advice for DiPietro:
My main advice to him would be to listen to himself…Certainly, Ricky has responsibilities to both sides of the equation, and it’s clear his absence has hurt the Islanders and their playoff chances. But it’s most important for him to listen to what his body and his head are telling him, and only he knows what that is, compared to how he normally feels.
Richter pushed himself back from concussions, but it’s hard to say if that ultimately shortened his career. But that’s not even the issue. It would be great if Richter spent some time talking to players in the junior leagues, to let them know that playing through pain and walking serious injuries off isn’t always the best way to go. The culture of hockey is you play until you can’t stand up, but maybe a respected guy like Richter can change that culture, so there’s no shame in telling your coach you can’t even see straight.
By the way, the DiPietro-less Isles played a strong game against the Rangers last night, downing them in the shootout.
Also, take this for what it’s worth, but Stan Fischler says Claude Julien might have been fired for not keeping the Devils on a short enough leash. One player told Fischler the bench was chaotic. The Post‘s Mark Everson heard similar rumblings, saying there were rumors Julien had lost the respect of the players. Even if all of that was true, the Devils’ record didn’t really indicate it was a serious issue.