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Injuries, fan hatred made DiPietro contemplate suicide (Updated)

Feb 28, 2013, 2:12 PM EDT

Rick DiPietro Getty Images

When the New York Islanders placed Rick DiPietro on waivers last week, it felt like “they ripped my heart out, stabbed it, set it on fire and flushed it down the toilet.”

That’s apparently what the 31-year-old goalie told News 12 Long Island in an interview with anchor Kevin Maher.

More disturbingly, DiPietro also reportedly said his much publicized, and oft ridiculed, struggles with injuries — along with losing, and all the hatred from fans — made him contemplate suicide.

The full interview will run later today.

(Update: DiPietro tells the New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis he was being “100 percent” facetious about contemplating suicide.

It should be noted he’s made light of his situation in this way before. Last April, he told the New York Times: “There were times I was driving over the Throgs Neck Bridge and I thought I’d veer right and end it. It’s tough times. This is a tough business. Physically, it’s hard, but mentally, it’s incredible. I always say you’ve got to laugh to keep from crying, because there are those days when you sit in the stands, and your teammates are like a family.”)

(Update: Click here to watch the interview.)

DiPietro — currently with AHL Bridgeport — has a contract that runs through 2020-21 with an annual salary (and cap hit) of $4.5 million, though it’s possible the Islanders could buy him out after the season.

  1. phillyphanatic77 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:20 PM

    I don’t think there’s anyone, despite all the fan contention, that would wanna see Dipietro take his life. That’s a very sad side of the story no one sees: the emotional toll a contract like that and the expectations can have on a person. Maybe getting bought out will allow him to resurrect his career somewhere else as a backup. Is he really worse than Brian Boucher or Michael Leighton? Idk.

    • stakex - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      While I always felt bad for RDP with his injury issues… I never bought the whole “big contract means big pressure” argument. I mean when he signed, the guy was playing for a basement dwelling team and was going to make $4.5 million a year for over a decade win, lose, or not play at all. Wheres the pressure, or the reason for an emotional toll?

      Theres far more emotional toll on guys who are in contract years, or play season to season on short term deals. If those guys don’t perform, they might be working in the snack bar the next season…. not sitting in the minors making $4.5 million. You can argue that its all relative to the person, but its really not. People need to have perspective of how bad their problems really are when compared to other people around them… and RDPs problems are far less then most NHLers.

      • adlent - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:12 PM

        I think that may be easy to say as a fan from the outside. Do you play sports? I am a goalie for a decently bad team in an adult league where I PAY to play and still feel a lot of pressure out there to steal games for the team. As a goalie it is extremely hard when a team is unsuccessful. You feel like every shot that makes it is your fault no matter what happened. I can’t imagine what it would be growing up playing and making it to the NHL level and then signing a big contract would be like. Basement dwellers or not, everyone is going to rag on you if you’re not out there lighting it up with the amount of money you are paid. The situation alone is pressure. You would want your goalie to have the competitive fire to care if he wasn’t “living up to expectations” so I think it is rather naive to think you making the money whether you play or not doesn’t put any pressure or emotional toll on you.

      • hockeyflow33 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        Not sure where you’re from adlent, but goalies don’t pay to play anywhere. You should join a new league/team.

    • ibieiniid - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:12 PM

      meanwhile, Flyers drop Leighton. to your concluding question, lol apparantly not. but in his heyday, bouch probably coulda beat RDP in a fight for a starting job. remember, Bouch was 2nd in the running for rookie of the year when he came in.
      ( lost to Scott Gomez =X )

      • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:39 PM

        Yeah he was awesome during his rookie season, almost took us to the Stanley Cup. But then he totally fell off the next season and never returned to what could be considered a full-time starter. Boucher has been a quality backup through his career (especially during his shutout streak with Phoenix), but Dipietro was the starter for several years on a bad team. He was up and down, much like Boucher, but he also didn’t have talent in front of him. He never deserved the contract he got but I’d say comparing both of their peaks, I’d take Dipietro.

    • pensfan603 - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      one time both of those goalies started for philly totally unrelated..

    • 950003cups - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:55 PM

      If he wants to trade places with me, I’ll take the fan hatred, the injuries, and all the bad media. You can add locking me up in jail 2x a week as well, along with his paychecks. He, in return, can have my blog name here, my unknown existence, my mediocre athleticism, and my paychecks.

      Would he trade? I doubt it!!! So if he fells bad, how do you think we all feel? He wouldn’t trade spots with anyone on this blog at all.

      Get over it Rick!!! Stop being a pansy! Stop looking for attention! Get in goal and start winning games, or opt out of your contract, and get a job like the rest of us!

      • phillyphanatic77 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:56 PM

        Well if he’s smart with his money he’ll never have to work again, so he’ll never know the stress of worrying about finances. But at the same time, the pressure of being a number one overall selection and being charged with carrying a team out of the perennial cellar is more pressure than most of us will ever know. If you fail at your job a few people get on your back about being better. When he fails at his job all of North America knows and gets on him. That’s something most of us would never want. On top of that throw in an absolutely mammoth contract and the already high expectations sky rocket. Now was it his decision to sign that deal? Absolutely, but I don’t think there’s anyone who would turn down close to $70 million over 15 years. I get all professional athletes are under immense pressure, but Dipietro signed a groundbreaking deal with the expectation that he would succeed. Then he falls flat on his face and that contract becomes a major detriment. Most would say “who cares if you fail? You’re rich”, and that may make you happy for a few years, maybe a decade, but then you’ll always be known as one of the biggest busts in the history of sport. Everyone knows who you are and most attach failure to your name. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with.

  2. rekingcrew - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:22 PM

    I wish I had his problems.

    • tfaltin - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Spoken like someone who can’t see beyond their own.

    • sabatimus - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:15 PM

      Ever been truly suicidal?

  3. hockeyflow33 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    I always felt bad for all his misfortune, (not counting the contract), because he seems like a genuinely nice guy.

  4. bcisleman - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    On the one hand, I sympathize with RDP. It wasn’t his idea for the Islanders to make him the #1 overall selection or to make the Luongo trade that preceded it. He certainly didn’t rate that and there was no likelihood that he would meet the expectations placed on him.

    This BR article I wrote at the time of the 2/2/11 goalie brawl reflects on the emotional strain all of the expectations and injuries placed on RDP. Watch the videos from the 2000 draft and the 2006 contract press conference and the stress is already apparent.

    All that said, RDP just was not an NHL quality goalie any longer. A developing team like the Isles badly needs reliable goaltending and RDP couldn’t offer it. Maybe he will be able to get his mojo back in the AHL. Hopefully he will be able to make his peace with whatever his future holds.

  5. colby7 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Man, its sad to think what could of happen if he ended up somewhere like, say, Detroit. Somewhere that wouldnt have rushed him and would of let him own the AHL for a few years. Somewhere that wouldnt have signed him to that noose of a contract.

    Cant help but feel for the guy, there was a time when it looked like he could be the next great goalie. He was going to get rich either way, I just bet that he wishes it could of happened in a better way.

  6. tfaltin - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:30 PM

    Regardless of how much money you make, you always want to meet the expectations others have for you, and prove your worth. It wasn’t DP’s fault he was offered a massive contract, and any one of us would have signed it. It’s not his fault that he hasn’t been durable, that’s simply the physical frame he has. For years he has been the punchline of a joke for everyone in the hockey world, and he knows it. He probably wears that contract like an Albatross while he’s judged against it every day. Every time he has fought back from an injury in an attempt to prove the critics wrong, the other shoe has dropped. I think it’s a sad story, but I hope it has a good ending for him. You never want to hear anyone think about taking their own life.

  7. colby7 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:38 PM

    But.. If he didn’t care about the money, why wouldn’t he retire and pursue a career in some other form of hockey? Seems like that would be a good way to move on, he must be pretty loaded already.

    • sabatimus - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:16 PM

      This has nothing to do with it.

  8. sjsharks66 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    Sad story, never like reading this type of thing when dealing with any sport.

  9. dkphilly1122 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM

    why retire when you can keep making 4.5 mill doing what you love still……whether he feels that way with the Isles or whoever, he still has love for the game. He has to to deal with suicidal thoughts and all over the years. Sad sad story for ANYONE to go thru and deal with. The sad part is, about ten years from now when all the guys suffering concussions and stuff currently start feeling the effects and depression from the concussions. Not that RDP has that particular problem, just saying no one likes to see anyone deal with suicidal thoughts regardless of how they got them. Way too many people take there lives anymore, sad.

    • colby7 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM

      How is “What you love” something that is causing you to comtemplate suicide? When your employers are telling you not to bother coming in to work? Seems like thats a situation to get out of if your already set for life.

  10. cweez2 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    A nice piece of justice would be a blast on Milbury with the same heat he applied to Ovechkin.

    Hang in there RDP. I hope you get to enjoy the game for once.

  11. buddysguys - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    yeah sooooo sad….cry me a river Ricky your loaded you play a game you love for a living (well don’t play much) and some people are mean to you when you stink and get paid tons of money…comes with the territory. I know you didn’t force the contract and your dumb owner gave it to you but there are 100 people who have it worse than you will ever have it everyday of their life. For you to say that you wanted to kill yourself go look at the kids that are bullied or the racism people face and struggle against daily…you got some depression because basically you didn’t live up to your hype??? Go hang out with Ryan Leaf and shut up.

    • davebabychreturns - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:03 PM

      I can’t imagine many things more grotesque or misguided than thinking that someone who makes a lot of money has no right to be anything other than overjoyed about their lives. How shallow is that?

    • ibieiniid - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      ok this could have been said WAYYY more respectfully. there’s parts of your post I agree with ideologically, and I’m 100% sure RDP isn’t reading…. but this seems like the wrong post for trolling this dude. it’s not like he’s faking wanting to kill himself. he may have some deeper issues that you should probably be sensitive of. you’re judging this guy without knowing him.

    • yotesfan61 - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Wealth does not equal happiness, as often as we may joke or think that it automatically does. Agree with davebabychreturns. Shallow is a pretty good word for this one.

      • bigblackzaranek - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:24 PM

        wealth does not equal happiness, but it can equal a waverunner…

      • yotesfan61 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        I see you’ve been watching Daniel Tosh….nobody can frown on a wave runner. . . haha

    • buddysguys - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:34 PM

      im not sensative to anyone who wants to kill themselves or even thinks about it, take the coward way out instead of dealing with your issues.

      again there are people all over the world that have it much worse than this guy.

      i’ll save my sympathy for abused women or children or people in war torn countries not some guy that has multiple chances and resources to turn his life around.

      • davebabychreturns - Feb 28, 2013 at 4:46 PM

        Well it’s obvious that you don’t have enough sympathy to go around, so I guess being miserly with it makes sense on some level.

    • buddysguys - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:40 PM

      too make this even better the POS was joking about it…..where is all the ricky sympathy now???

      opinion changed yet?

      • buddysguys - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        sorry about all the typos….

      • manchestermiracle - Mar 1, 2013 at 10:21 AM

        We’re all sorry, too, buddy, but not about the typos…..

    • hockeyflow33 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:24 PM

      So you think being bullied is an issue and then proceed to bully not only DiPietro but people on his side?

  12. jaredo10 - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    Wow really feel for this guy. Dont like to hear stuff like that. Hope he gets another chance and plays lights out

  13. rushledger - Feb 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM

    I think all of us that have been critically about Diepeitro need to just lay off. In fairness his contract is the flagship off a poorly run islanders franchise. I don’t think there is a single goalie in the NHL past or present that could get that type of contract and go the length without heavy criticism. I’m sorry to hear Rick has been hurt this strongly by the hate and I will not make anymore criticisms about his game or injuries.

  14. r8rbhawk - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:13 PM

    The sad thing is when he does make it back to the NHL, opposing fans are going to use these comments against him. Especially fans in Philly and NY.

  15. sabatimus - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    Ok now he says he’s being facetious? About suicide? Now I’m glad they waived him.

  16. ron05342 - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Joking about suicide is no joke.

  17. trbowman - Feb 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    “he was being “100 percent” facetious about contemplating suicide.”


    This guy is clearly hurting. Hope he gets the support he needs.

    • DTF31 - Feb 28, 2013 at 4:22 PM

      Its also poor reporting on the reporter for not properly clarifying a statement before making it public over twitter like that. Makes DP look like a bad guy when its sloppy and irresponsible journalism.

  18. dkphilly1122 - Feb 28, 2013 at 5:52 PM

    Philly and NY will use it against him?? So we are the only two cities who would use that he was suicidal against him. Philly and NY can be hard cities to play in or against but NOT all the fans from any city respresent the whole city. We are not all rude and throw stuff in people’s face. As for RDP still making 4.5 mill a year doing what he loves……if he is that stressed and truly suicidal from playing why not retire and live a semi normal semi stress free life away from hockey……he apparently loves it still and the 4.5 mill a year doesn’t hurt.

  19. s - Feb 28, 2013 at 6:34 PM

    You know, there’s an easy way to walk out of the pressure: he can retire and go play the game he loves as a hobby. Nobody’s forced him to take that cash all those years.

    Tough breaks happen to a lot of people. It’s part of life. Most of us don’t walk out with $20M in our pockets though.

    I have no compassion whatsoever. Whining about suicide thoughts in a public forum screams of a need for attention. Pathetic, really. As far as I know, the guy’s not permanently disabled or anything. He can still enjoy a happy life, and can do so many great things with the cash he’s earned. Ugh… Loser.

  20. proudliberal85392 - Feb 28, 2013 at 10:39 PM

    Talk of suicide is nothing to make light of. On the contrary, it’s very serious. Many of the comments here prove RDP’s point. Best of luck, Rick. Here’s hoping things work out for you.

  21. mattyo99 - Mar 1, 2013 at 6:57 PM

    I think the islanders are a joke, they put all there eggs in one basket w/ RD,and hav’nt signed any decent players or defenseman to help him out, they have sucked for years.there organization is a joke,minus Tavares,Grabner, and Strait the rest of the team is mediocore

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