Rick DiPietro knows all about being kept away from the hockey rink when he wished he could play.

Injuries upon injuries have sidelined the man who should have been the New York Islanders' franchise player but instead became the punch line for the club that has struggled to stay relevant in the NHL.

But DiPietro is back with the Islanders, ready to get back on the ice for the 48-game sprint of a season that will begin Saturday night at home against the defending Eastern Conference champion New Jersey Devils.

If DiPietro's health can come anywhere close to matching his enthusiasm, the Islanders could have quite a solid veteran goaltending tandem of Evgeni Nabokov and the 31-year-old DiPietro.