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Q&A with Rick DiPietro

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Posted: Saturday June 24, 2000 08:39 PM

Rick DiPietro , 19, went first overall to the New York Islanders, the highest goaltender ever selected in the draft after Roberto Luongo went fourth overall in 1997). A skilled puckhandler and excellent skater, DiPietro opted into the draft after his freshman year at Boston University and thus will be ineligible to return for his sophomore year. From Winthrop, Mass., DiPietro was the top American-born player in the draft.

Q: How does it feel to make NHL history?
A: I didn't know I did. I'm just happy it was me. I guess after today, the real work begins. I'm looking forward to starting off with the Islanders and getting going.

Q: Sometimes, you're describes as cocky or arrogant. How do you feel about that?
A: People get that from how I handle the puck. That's something I don't try to do -- show I'm cocky or arrogant. I do it to help my teammates. If people want to take that as cocky or arrogant, then that's their opinion. But I think a confident goaltender is your best goaltender. A goaltender that's on his game is going to have a lot of confidence. I'm confident in my play.

Q: One of the things you do to clear the puck is to bat it out of the air, baseball style. How did that come about?
A: That's a Dominik Hasek trademark. I saw him do it a couple of times and it worked well. It got the puck out of the zone. AS long as you don't take the forward's head's off, it's a good move. But it's something I'm trying to wean myself away from because it's pretty risky.

Q: What are the best aspects of your game?
A: As a goaltender, your best asset needs to be saving the puck. That's something I pride myself in. I enjoy being a pretty athletic goatlender. Athleticism is a big key to being a strong goaltender. I try to keep myself in shape.

Q: Do you keep your eye on any NHL shooters?
A: I keep my eye mainly on the goaltenders. I have a bunch of favorites. Mike Richter and Curtis Joseph are two goalies that I like watching and respect a lot. It'd be a great honor to one day lace them up against them.

Q: When you see someone like Luongo who, three years after he was drafted, still isn't an NHL regular, do you think about a possible time frame for getting to the NHL?
A: No, I really don't. I haven't been a part of that intense NHL training camp, so I don't know where I stand as far as that skill level. But Luongo is a great goatlender and had a solid year and it was unfortunate he didn't.

Q: Have you ever scored a goal?
A: A couple of years ago, in the Freedom Challenge in Lake Placid, I missed by a couple of inches. It was pretty tough to watch that sail by. Hopefully, I'll get a chance soon enough.

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