New York Islanders goaltender Rick DiPietro said he was "kidding" and being "100 per cent" facetious regarding his discussion of suicide in an interview with a local New York TV station.
According to Kevin Maher of News 12 in New York on Thursday, DiPietro admitted that the mounting injuries, losses and hatred from fans over the last three years has caused him to contemplate committing suicide.
Maher tweeted that when the Islanders decided to send DiPietro to Bridgeport of the American Hockey League, the 31-year-old added, "they ripped my heart out, stabbed it, set it on fire and flushed it down the toilet."
Later in the afternoon, DiPietro told and ESPN.com's Katie Strang and The New York Post's Brett Cyrgalis respectively that he was "kidding" and being "100 per cent" facetious on his remarks about suicide.
"I'm just trying to bring light to the fact of how important my wife has been," DiPietro told The Post. "It's been a trying last couple years.
"There have been times that I've been depressed, and I don't know where I'd be without the support of my wife."
According to Strang, DiPietro said he told the News 12 reporter that if he had not had his wife's support through all the lows he has experienced - including being waived by the Islanders - that he'd have driven himself "into a tree."
Strang spoke with DiPietro later in the afternoon and shared her conversation with That's Hockey's Gino Reda.
"Just knowing Rick and the way he is, he sort of has - for better or worse - a dark, self-deprecating sense of humour and I sensed that it was probably something along those lines," Strang said. "I think this is a guy in a very fragile mental state and I think he is upset, as he should be. I think any player going through this probably would be as well."
DiPietro is in the seventh year of a much-publicized 15-year, $67.5 million deal, but has only played in 175 games over that period due to numerous injuries.
Islanders general manager Garth Snow released a statement on Thursday saying the team would address the issue.
"We are aware of Rick's comments today and the severity of them. We will handle them internally as we do with all player matters," said Snow.
DiPietro was drafted by the Islanders first overall in the 2000 NHL Draft.
Over 318 career games, he has 130 wins, 136 losses and 28 overtime wins with a goals-against-average of 2.87 and a save percentage of .902.