One question in the wake of goalie Rick DiPietro's groundbreaking 15-year contract with the New York Islanders:
Why not longer?
Why not 20 years?
And why just DiPietro?
Owner Charles Wang has such a good track record in these kinds of matters, why not a 10-year deal for Arron Asham or Tom Poti or Alexei Yashin?
Oh, wait a minute, he already gave Yashin a 10-year deal. And look how lovely that's turned out for this once-proud franchise now reduced to a running joke both within the game and for those with a passing interest in the team.
The latest punch line was unveiled Tuesday afternoon, when it was announced that DiPietro, a goalie who has won zero playoff games, had been awarded the longest contract in the history of the game and what is believed to be the second-longest contract in the history of pro sports.
Ha, ha, ha. Ho, ho, ho. Stop it, you're killing us. Or is it just the franchise that's being rubber-chickened to death?
The theory emanating out of Charles Wang's Long Island bunker is that in the wake of the team's management fiasco of earlier this summer, wherein it hired Neil Smith as GM only to can him 40 days later and promote backup netminder Garth Snow to the post, DiPietro's long-long-term $67.5 million deal would be a sign of stability.
Ho, ho. Ha, ha, ha. Stop it. Really.
Just because a television station runs a "Three Stooges" marathon doesn't mean the program director is a genius. It just means he has more "Three Stooges" tapes than he knows what to do with.
And while we don't necessarily mean to draw a comparison between DiPietro and the comedic trio, there is certainly an element of the slapstick when it comes to this deal and this franchise.
"It means the owner is a moron," one NHL executive told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "It makes no sense. This is all about Charles Wang's ego."
The most salient point in this tragicomedy is that DiPietro simply isn't that good a goalie.
Former GM Mike (insert the descriptor "Mad" at your convenience) Milbury traded away Roberto Luongo and the chance to draft Dany Heatley or Marian Gaborik so he could make DiPietro the first goalie taken with the first overall pick in 2000 in what was merely one of a handful of wretched deals that ensured the Islanders' perpetual mediocrity.
But the fact that DiPietro hasn't provided the kind of play a first overall pick should provide has now been exacerbated by Wang's wacky decision to lock him down for 15 years.
DiPietro, 25, handles the puck exceedingly well, and he has no shortage of confidence. But he has shown a tendency to go sideways, not just for a period or two, but for days at a time when things don't go his way. He was below average before the Olympics last season as the Islanders dug themselves an early hole. He was average at the Olympics as the Americans won one game during the Torino tournament. He was above average down the stretch when the Islanders were effectively eliminated from the playoff race.
Rick DiPietro's new deal is meant to keep him with the Islanders until 2022.
Average it out and you've got an average goalie (3.02 goals-against average, .900 save percentage) at an average price -- for a stupefyingly long period of time. Oh, that'll have the fans banging down the rotting doors at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Nassau County and the new arena Wang hopes to build and the arena they'll have to build after that if DiPietro totters to the end of the 15-year deal.