One day before the Rangers and Islanders revive their rivalry for the first time this season, goaltender Henrik Lundqvist expressed a sentiment rarely voiced between the two teams.
After hearing that goaltender Rick DiPietro suffered yet another injury -- the 30-year-old is out indefinitely with a concussion -- Lundqvist sympathized with his situation.
"Of course you feel for him," Lundqvist said. "In the last couple of years, it's been a lot for him."
The two goaltenders were both drafted in 2000 -- DiPietro was the first overall pick, while Lundqvist wasn't taken until the seventh round. No one could have predicted how divergent their paths would become.
Since inking a head-spinning 15-year, $67.5 million contract with the Islanders in 2006 -- counting this season, he is signed for another decade -- DiPietro has suffered multiple concussions and undergone multiple knee and hip surgeries. He also missed six weeks last season with facial fractures sustained during a fight with Penguins goaltender Brent Johnson.
"No matter who you are, when you're hurt that much it's really tough mentally to all the time have to start over with rehab and trying to get back into game shape," Lundqvist said.
"It must be really tough for him."