Last week when the New York Islanders waived Rick DiPietro, I had a hard time feeling bad for him. What exactly is the team supposed to do with him? The often-injured goalie wasn't lighting up the team in the few occasions he did play and the team really didn't have any use for him, as Evgeni Nabokov took over in net.
And now today with the announcement that all of the taunting and comments got to DiPietro, and the man suffered from suicidal thoughts, the hockey world wants to give him a hug.
That's fine. Go ahead. We should all eat our words.
But before I hug him, I want to smack Mike Milbury on the back of the head. I want to smack everyone who gives these ridiculous contracts to players.
I don't care that you want to "lock up" players and build around them. You're fucking insane for trying to do that. Haven't we learned yet that long term contracts are the stake in a player's career? Besides DiPietro other infamous contracts include:
- Scott Gomez
- Alexei Yashin
- Sidney Crosby
- Ryan Suter
- Zach Parise
- Christian Ehrhoff
- Ilya Bryzgalov
- Roberto Luongo
- Brad Richards
- Alexander Ovechkin
- Jeff Carter
- Ilya Kovalchuk
Say what you want about these players, but have any of them really lived up to their contracts? Injuires, struggling teams around them, or just personal struggles all have these players performing under expectations. (And yes, I've included Crosby on this list, not to shit all over him, but when you look at his stats, yeah they are excellent, are they where they could be had he not lost so much time to injury? His contract signing came after the concussion, but were the Penguins expecting a bigger rebound? Because I sure was.)
Jobs are stressful, and while yes, hockey is technically a game, it's still a job to these men. How their team does is riding on their shoulders for years to come. I don't care that "this is what they signed up for", no one needs that pressure.
Players have enough problems, worrying about staying safe, worrying about digging themselves out of a playing slump, they shouldn't worry that they are the sole responsibility of the team's success. I've always advocated shorter contracts in the NHL, but now that we are seeing the pressures of these long term contracts are turning fans against players and causing unnecessary stress on players, I'm even more in favor of this now.
Do I hold it against the fans for being upset with DiPietro? No. Do I hold it against DiPietro for being bitter, unhappy, and suicidal? No. Do I think it's time to take a look at the contracts and the signing habits of GMs? Yes. Because despite the third lockout in 20 years, teams are still circumventing the CBA and MoU to signed players, and manipulate the cap.
The NHL should not be causing depression.
NHL fans should not be causing depression.
NHL fans should be able to express their displeasure but a player shouldn't have to listen to it for 10 years.
Life is hard enough without thousands of people telling you, you suck. Because for every Roberto Luongo, who has managed to turn himself into a beloved player, there's dozens of Rick DiPietros out there struggling to live up to their contracts.
I really hope DiPietro got the help he needs for his depression, I'll never root for him out on the ice, but I'll root for him in life.