Q&A: ESPN analyst Rick DiPietro on NHL buyouts, Simone Biles, and the story behind his Twitter handle

Q&A: ESPN analyst Rick DiPietro on NHL buyouts, Simone Biles, and the story behind his Twitter handle

On a midsummer afternoon, far from any arena or radio studio, Rick DiPietro was just a father dealing with some broken marine equipment. It was a jet-ski that was the problem.

“Decided to kick the bucket,” he said “It was a mess.”

They had to tow it to shore to charge the battery.

“We’re good,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s a family vacation.”

Work will return soon enough, when the 39-year-old takes another step into his second career this fall, as an NHL analyst within ESPN’s new talent roster. DiPietro will join Ray Ferraro, Hilary Knight and more than 20 other experts as the U.S. cable sports monolith embarks on its new seven-year deal with the league.

He has already established his voice in media, working as a morning show host with an ESPN station in New York. DiPietro might be better known for his first career: As a star prospect taken first overall by the New York Islanders in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Six years later, he signed a 15-year contract worth $67.5 million that should have had him in goal as the Islanders returned to prominence. Except his story took a detour. It was his body that gave out on him, stranding him as he approached what should have been his prime.

New York bought him out of his deal in 2013 and will continue to pay him $1.5 million a year through the 2028-29 season. The move soured him on the business, but the sport eventually drew him back.

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