European Vacation for Tampa and New York

In case you were wondering, it’s a big pain in the rear preparing an NHL team to play in Europe. The Rangers and Lightning are making their way across Europe, getting ready to play each other. It’s hard not to picture Chevy Chase driving everyone around. Vinny Prospal is even keeping a diary on Erik Eriendsson’s blog (here is the latest entry; it’s pretty dull).
Over on Long Island, goalie Rick DiPietro is getting ready to practice. The Isles are in a tough spot with DiPietro, as many predicted they would be when they gave him a 10-year contract. DiPietro can’t handle a super heavy NHL workload; he just doesn’t seem to have the make-up for it. But the Isles can’t have a backup that might challenge him for the starting spot. As you recall previous coach Ted Nolan lost his job for flirting with that idea. Hopefully DiPietro is ready to return. It seems that unless the Islanders figure out a way to lighten his workload, they’re going to be in the exact same situation next October. New coach Scott Gordon has a lot of challenges in front of him, but one of the biggest is working out how to keep DiPietro happy and healthy while still winning games when DiPietro isn’t playing. Because Isles GM Garth Snow doesn’t really seem to be working on this.