Updated: Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013, 7:58 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013, 7:58 PM EDT
BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) -- How hard is it to get back to the top once you've been knocked down? Hockey player Rick DiPietro made his way through Bridgeport on the way to the NHL. He got a big contract with the New York Islanders and then had several injuries and eventually the label of "bust" but now he's back in Bridgeport persevering.
Rick DiPietro was already frustrated being sent back to the minors. Things were compounded when he says he was misinterpreted by a New York TV reporter, who said DiPietro's hockey struggles made him think about suicide.DiPietro says his comments were made to show the importance of his wife through the hard times.
"My attitude is very positive and optimistic. I still love my wife to death and give her credit for everything that I've accomplished and will continue to accomplish. I think no one has to worry about me jumping off any bridges anytime soon," said DiPietro.
Landing back in Bridgeport could be a blessing in disguise for DiPietro. He played at a championship form there and is also surrounded by people he trusts, including former Sound Tiger teammate and current goalie coach Steve Valiquette.
"It's nice to have people that care. I know that Steve and I were really close when we played together and when you have someone that really cares about you and cares about you being successful and that you trust, it's nice. Most of my best memories of playing hockey are here being a Sound Tiger," said DiPietro.
DiPietro's hockey life has come full circle. No longer the Islanders savior, DiPietro is looking to re-build his NHL future.
Injuries have been a major source of frustration for the former #1 overall pick. Only 31-years-old, DiPietro still has time to turn things around.
"I feel great. 31 is the new 21 I think. I feel like I'm a lot more mature, I know my body better, I know the game better. At the end of the day, if I didn't feel like I could get back to being where I was or better, I'm not the kind of person that wants to going to just continue to hold on," said DiPietro.