Ring Around The Goalie

...ashes to ashes, they all fall down!!

Let's define irony, shall we?

A few years ago Rick DiPietro and former New York Rangers prospect Al Montoya had a very entertaining goalie fight in an Islanders/Rangers pre-season game. It was the first time the two teams had seen Ryan Hollweg and Chris Simon in the line-up at the same time since the baseball swing incident that warranted a suspension that kept Simon out for the rest of the previous year. Tempers were high, as both Hollweg and Simon dropped the mits as well as several others. In fact, it got to the point where there was plenty of room on both benches since so many players were either in the penalty boxes or in their respective locker rooms for being tossed out with game misconducts.

Here is the fight between DiPietro and Montoya:

(YouTube video courtesy of user islesenforcers)

Now over three years later, DiPietro is caught in another bout with Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson. The fight only took one punch to decide a victor as DP went down to the ice and received facial fractures to go along with swelling of the knee that just happened coincidentally in the same night.

(YouTube video courtesy of user hockeyfightsdotcom)

DiPietro is now sitting in the press-box for the next four to six weeks and has only played a total of 21 games this season. There's only a tad more than a quarter of the season left. DP's first full season in an Islanders uniform since being shut down two years in a row had been going...well, satisfactory. But this speed bump hurts, making it hard to be optimistic about him ever returning to his old form on a full-time basis.

But the pain didn't stop there.

Like salt in an open wound, Kevin Poulin dislocates his knee in warm-ups before the team's match-up with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night and Mikko Koskinen is forced to play his first NHL game in a 5-3 loss. Poulin will miss the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, Poulin had been rushed into the NHL; he should have been in the minors for the remainder of the year with Nathan Lawson (who should be back from injury soon) maintaining the back-up role behind DiPietro. Instead, the 22-year old Koskinen will get his second chance for an NHL win as the Islanders visit the Montreal Canadiens. Joel Martin, another goaltender who has recently been signed to a two-way contract, will be on the bench to serve as Koskinen's back-up.

The merry-go-round of goaltenders has caused Garth Snow to acquire yet another goaltender. And no, I'm not talking about Evgeni Nabokov, (we all know that story; there's no need to remind everyone that he's choosing to sit out the rest of the year). We're talking about guess who...

Al Montoya!

The same guy that DiPietro knocked out years ago will get a chance to take his place between the pipes because, well...this time Rick got knocked out! I told you that we were going to define irony.

Snow acquired Montoya from the Phoenix Coyotes for a sixth round draft pick. He's been playing with the 'Yotes farm team in San Antonio and is 11-8-0 in 21 games played with a 3.19 GAA and .891 save percentage. He was also drafted sixth overall by the New York Rangers in 2004 and is currently 25 years old.

It is expected that Montoya will join the team for tomorrow night's home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Let's hope that whoever is in net will stay in their crease for this rematch, regardless of any events that happen on the ice.

-Rob McGowan

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George Prax's picture

Obviously Montoya was a let down of a prospect but that's a decent pick-up for the Isles. Obviously a band-aid but they have to get through the season. That's pretty funny that DiPietro laid him out lol

Kyle Andrew Busch's picture

man i remember watching montoya play for Michigan at the Great Lakes Invitational at the JLA, and he was unreal. too bad he didn;t pan out. he still could though, you never know with the isles