This offseason was unlike any other in recent memory for Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro.
After so many season-ending injuries in years past, DiPietro actually went into this summer healthy.
"I feel good," DiPietro said. "I think this is the first summer in six years I didn't have to have surgery."
In addition to a full summer of working with goaltending consultant Sudarshan Maharaj, DiPietro also incorporated a steady routine of yoga into his training. Three times a week a yoga instructor came to DiPietro's house, "so that I don't embarrass myself in front of people," he joked.
"I'm a yogi now," he said.
If his preseason debut was any indication--he stopped 20 of 22 shots in what was heralded by Newsday's Arthur Staple as a "sharp" performance--the clean slate and zen-like workouts have paid dividends.
"It was great to see Ricky play well last night," coach Jack Capuano said. "He was confident, aggressive. His angles were good, his goalie touches were good. It's really the first time Ricky's had to come in fresh, healthy.
Limited to 26 starts last season because of facial fractures and knee swelling, DiPietro posted a disappointing record of 8-14-4 with a 3.44 GAA and .886 save percentage.
But like this summer, he'll start fresh.
The former first overall pick, who recently turned 30, will likely compete for the starting job with fellow goaltenders Al Montoya and Evgeni Nabokov.
"If that's what Garth decides to do, that's what we'll go with," Capuano said. "It's day by day right now so we'll see."