DUBIE ACHIEVES HIS GOAL
By Jason Lockhart
At 27 years of age, Wade Dubielewicz has waited some time to get the deal he's been longing for since he signed as a free agent with the Islanders back in July of 2003 - a one-way NHL contract.
On Tuesday, Dubie, as he's known around the team, earned that deal after one of the most impressive late-season performances by a third-string goaltender.
Looking back on that miracle run, Dubielewicz put his playoff-clinching poke check against Sergei Brylin at the top of his list as the greatest moment, but he noted the win over the Rangers in the shootout on April 3 was a close second.
"The Rangers game was really special to me," said Dubielewicz. "It was a big rivalry game and it was a game we had to win to give ourselves a chance. From that point on we played a lot better. Just to be part of the last few weeks was incredible."
Dubie indicated to the press before the Islanders made the playoffs this season that he'll always be able to take with him the fact that he won his first NHL game - a 4-2 contest against Philadelphia.
Later down the stretch Dubielewicz received a canvas photo of his stop on Sidney Crosby in a shootout at the end of the 2005-06 season and joked that he'll always be able to tell his grandchildren that he stopped Crosby in on the breakaway.
After leading the Islanders to the 2007 playoffs, Dubielewicz will have more to brag about to his kin than one win and a save.
The improbable run was something Dubie planned to take with him into the summer to help him prepare for the start of next season. His goal for next fall, he said, before leaving the Nassau Coliseum one final time before the summer began, was to be a New York Islander.
Less than a month later, Dubie achieved that goal when his agent called earlier this week telling him he'd signed a one-year, one-way contract with the Islanders.
"I was ecstatic when I found out the news," said Dubielewicz at his home in Connecticut. "My emotions were off the charts. I first called my wife and in-laws, who were all very excited for me. I can't tell you how much they've gone through with me. They've been there for all the ups and downs."
It's been quite the past couple of months for Dubie and his wife Megan, who gave birth to their first son Trevor Scott Dubielewicz on March 1.
"It's been a crazy two months," said Dubielewicz, who's back on the interview circuit after word reached the press of the deal. "Nothing seems to be going wrong."
For the goaltender, the contract won't change anything in the off-season, despite having his job secured for the fall.
"This gives me new motivation to be in the best shape," said Dubielewicz. "Now that I have the job, my goal is to win games. No matter how many games I play next season, it's my job to relieve the pressure off Ricky. I want the coaches to have confidence knowing that if Ricky sits a game, I'll be there to pick up the slack.
"This is the start of the something great," he said. "There's no time for sitting back and getting comfortable. I'm getting a chance to live out my dream, and there's no better place than right here on Long Island."
* IT'S OFFICIAL: DUBIE'S AN ISLANDER