Isles Bad Guys In Nabokov Situation

As a Rangers fan I try not to ever be too critical of other organizations; especially those that are division rivals. You've heard the cliche about those that live in glass houses, haven't you? The Rangers have certainly made more than their fair share of player personnel errors so I try to avoid speaking ill of other teams. The Islanders recent mishandling of they Evgeni Nabokov situation is a different matter.

Truth is I have a lot of respect for Islanders fans. They are passionate and loyal despite the many years without much on-ice success. Unfortunately the Islanders organization has done little to reward that loyalty.

Before I light into Islanders management, specifically GM Garth Snow and owner Charles Wang, let me acknowledge the positive news created by extending LW Matt Moulson. Moulson has worked hard to turn himself into a pretty good player and he deserves every penny he will get. Of course Snow and Wang needed to do something to make them look good because what they did to Nabokov was neither fair nor professional.

Nabokov, as we all know, left the NHL to sign in the KHL last summer when it became clear he wouldn't get the free agent contract he was looking for in North America. After a few months in Russia, Nabokov decided he wanted to return home to North America. He and his KHL club came to an agreement to terminate his contract so he could return to the NHL as an unrestricted free agent. Except he really wasn't an unrestricted free agent.

The Detroit Red Wings, seeking help in goal with the loss of veteran back-stop Chris Osgood and looking ahead to competing for another Stanley Cup championship, agreed to terms with Nabokov. Unfortunately, due to a provision in the collective bargaining agreement, Nabokov first had to clear waivers before joining Detroit. That's when the Isles stepped in.

First, let's look at why this provision was included in the CBA to begin with. During the Oilers dynasty of the mid to late 1980's, defenseman Reijo Ruotsalainen had a habit of reappearing late in the year in time to win a Stanley Cup with Edmonton. He was a member of 1986-1987 and 1989-1990 Oilers teams that won championships. Both seasons he began the year in Europe before signing on with Edmonton as a free agent. Ruotsalainen played a total of 26 regular season games with the Oilers scoring 21 points (6 g, 15 a) but appeared in 43 postseason contests for the Oil.

Obviously it didn't seem fair to other teams that the Oilers could add an all-star caliber player for the stretch run at no cost. The player wanted to play in Europe for a majority of the season, whether to be closer to home or for more money, but made himself available just in the nick of time to get his name engraved on 2 cups. The rule was eventually instituted to keep this from happening.

After Nabokov agreed to terms on a contract, he had to pass through waivers first. Every team in the NHL had a chance to place a claim on the veteran net minder with highest priority given to the team with the worst record. The Islanders, with the 3rd worst record in the NHL at the time and also needing help in net following the trade of Dwayne Roloson, placed a claim and Nabokov was awarded to them.

It's important to note that Nabokov's agent, Don Meehan, sent a letter to each team in the league stating Nabokov's desire to play only for the Wings and attempting to discourage anyone else from claiming him. St. Louis had already been burned twice with Nashville claiming F Marek Svatos and San Jose grabbing Kyle Wellwood. Meehan tried to keep the same thing from happening with Nabokov. It didn't work.

I understand Nabokov's position. He wanted to play for a team with postseason aspirations, a team that would be playing meaningful games in the spring. He wanted to rebuild his value in advance of hitting free agency this summer. I completely get why Detroit would be appealing and Long Island wouldn't be.

I also understand the Islanders didn't do anything technically wrong by claiming Nabokov. They have a legitimate need for an experienced goalie and were within their rights to claim him according to the CBA. Still, look at the position they put Nabokov in.

Nabokov had 2 choices; show up and play the remainder of the season for a team going nowhere and a club he didn't want to go to or not report. He chose the latter.

The Islanders were then presented with 2 options of their own; suspend Nabokov and potentially block him from playing in the NHL until the 2012-2013 season or put him back on waivers again. They chose the former and now Nabokov may not be able to play in the NHL, except for with the Islanders, for a year and a half. And I thought he was a free agent; free to sign with anyone he wanted. Guess I was wrong.

To me the Islanders look really bad here. By claiming Nabokov, they put him in a bad situation and now he may not be able to play the game he loves in the league he wants to ever again. If he doesn't play next season, he will be 37 in the summer of 2012 when he possibly may again be free to join any team he wishes to. How much interest will there be in a guy who hasn't suited up in the NHL for 2 years and is 37? Probably none.

I could have understood had a team in the Western Conference playoff picture claimed him to prevent the Wings from improving. In that situation it would have been good strategy to block Nabokov from going to Detroit if the claiming team was fighting for playoff positioning or didn't want to face Nabokov and the Wings in the postseason. That isn't the case with the Islanders.

The Islanders were already in a tough position when it comes to attracting free agents or keeping their own players long term. I can't see this helping make Long Island an attractive place to play. They have the worst home arena, according to many, in the league. Their ownership hasn't demonstrated the ability or willingness to spend to the cap ceiling (and before you say they had the best offer on the table to Paul Martin last summer and that's proof they're committed to spending what it takes, it's easy to make the best offer when you know the player won't take it. It makes for good publicity though). Now they've possibly prematurely ended the NHL career of Nabokov. If I am a free agent or a current Islanders player, these factors would weigh heavily in my decision to sign on Long Island.

Remember what I said earlier about glass houses? Well, I haven't either. I know anyone that disagrees with me will point at the Rangers demotion of Wade Redden as similar to what the Islanders have done to Nabokov. That isn't the case though. The Rangers demoted a player that wasn't performing to the level of his contract. Redden's choices were better than Nabokov's. Redden could go to Hartford and still collect his money or he could have refused to report and been granted free agency. He then would have been free to go anywhere he wanted and play in the NHL and the Rangers would have been freed of the financial burden.

Nabokov could play for the Islanders or..... well, or play for no one.

Back to the Islanders having a need for a reliable veteran goalie. Nabokov wasn't the only option out there. Chances are a few veterans were available via trade. Mathieu Garon comes to mind. Ray Emery is ready to test out his hip in the AHL and he likely would have jumped at the chance to join the Islanders. They didn't need to try to convince Nabokov to change his mind about coming to Long Island.

At the end of the day Nabokov isn't playing in the NHL, the Islanders still haven't added a veteran goalie and now they look like the bad guys in one of the NHL's strangest story lines of the year.

26 Comments

ss1983's picture

Wow, you should've kept this post in your head and never put it down on paper. First of all, while we are on the subject of glass houses. Your franchise has won a total of 6 playoff rounds since winning the cup in 94 after a 54 year drought. That 6 series victories in 16 years with steady ownership and an open wallet with no limits. So the Rangers havent exactly been setting the world on fire.

As far as Nabakov is concerned, there have also been reports from his agent that he would report to any team that claimed him. So if you can validate that the report "you" heard regarding that he wouldnt report, is in fact the only correct one, then that should be included in the article. So you are defending a player who jumped ship to the KHL because he wasnt getting the $$ he wanted from a contending team. So after signing in the KHL which turns out a disaster, this player decides, hmm I think ill go play in the NHL now. As ignorant as can be, this player signs with the Detroit Red Wings clearly knowing that all of the other 29 teams can claim him if they so choose and he must have known that the chances of him being claimed were about 95%. He also must have known that the teams with the worst record have the 1st chance to claim him.

So in come the Islanders. A team who traded Dwayne Roloson to Tampa Bay a few weeks earlier. A rebuilding team who knew they had no purpose for a 41 year old goalie and who jumped on a trade where they thought they were getting good value. Then the Islanders foreseeable backup (Lawson) goes down with an injury. So instead of rushing their blue chip 20 year old prospect (Poulin) into the NHL, they claim a proven netminder who will only be owed 250,000 for the rest of the year. How dare they!

So Nabakov is shocked by this move as somehow he thought he was going to slip all the way through the waiver wire and fall into a contenders lap. Nabakov decides not to report so they Islanders within their rights, suspend him. Now, the Isles couldve said screw it and put him back on waivers, but what kind of message would this send to players and the rest of the league? That the Islanders themselves know they are not good enough and not worthy of the great Evgeni Nabakov? That any other future player who feels that they just dont want to play for the Islanders anymore that they can just walk away and thats that? To write an article about Evgeni Nabakov (who defected to the KHL) granting him this higher power like he is owed something is ridiculous. I dont know if this is more of a shot at the Islanders or a pedestal that you are trying to place Nabakov on. If this were an NHL great like Lemieux or Gretzky or Messier(theres some credit for your Rangers) and there was a clause where they had to pass through waivers and the Islanders claimed them then yes, there would be a problem. But this is Evgeni Nabakov! Give me a break.

I wont even comment on the Redden situation. That alone should have kept you away from writing this article.

Glen Miller's picture

Chris Osgood was even quoted as saying he thought it was strange the Isles claimed him. I said the Isles were within their rights and that they had a need for a goalie. But they could have gone another route rather than claim Nabokov or expose their "blue chip" prospect. They had to figure the chances Nabokov would play for them weren't good. They still made the claim and now a guy's NHL career could be over. That is true. Forgive me for having an opinion and for not sharing your own but I won't bash you for yours. Thanks anyway for reading.

Glen Miller's picture

And besides, Nabokov was supposedly a FREE AGENT and yet after exercising his right as a FREE AGENT and signing with a team he chose to play for he now has to go play for a team like the Islanders just because they are bad right now and an outdated clause in the CBA says he should. The Free in Free Agency obviously didn't mean anything here did it. I was bashing both the rule and the way the Islanders handled this situation. I made my argument; you don't have to agree but I'd rather you not insult me. Jeez.

ss1983's picture

Didnt mean to insult you, but this is directed at every writer that has bashed the Islanders for this move. You cant fault the Islanders because of how the CBA reads. The rule is made to prevent playoff bound teams from signing players from different leagues before the deadline to bolster their roster. Would it be fair if the Rangers were playing Pittsburgh in the playoffs and the Pens went and signed the 4 best players outside the NHL right before the playoffs started? You would probably agree with the rule then. Why would or should the Isles have gone another way to get a goalie? You are implying that the Islanders are not worthy of anything and other teams should have things handed to them. The Chris Osgood comments were also falsely reported and the article that was published with those comments was taken down. Osgood himself has since denounced those comments as being completely false. You are right about one thing though. Nabakov's career may very well be over, but it is by no fault of the Islanders whatsoever. It was Nabakov's decision to go to the KHL. It was his to come back. And now its his to stay home. Rules are made for everyone to play by them, not just some.

Glen Miller's picture

So you approve of the rule? I don't. I understand the need for it but think there is a happy medium somewhere. I also don't like the rule that allows teams, Rangers included, to bury a player they willingly signed in the minors to remove the cap hit. I think adjustments need to be made there that allows teams to buy players out but minimizes, without removing, the penalty on the cap. I don't want to see NHL-caliber players languishing in the minors because a GM overpaid for them.

I don't fault the Islanders for playing by the rules of the CBA. I just think they had to know Nabokov probably wouldn't report so what was the point for them? There were other goalies they could have added. I was able to find the article that quoted Osgood. Here it is.
http://sports.espn.go.com/new-york/nhl/news/story?id=6048076

I also can't blame the player for wanting to play for the team that he chose to sign with. Nabokov has been around a long time and I think he has earned the right to play for whomever he wishes. Again, he was a free agent.

Isles79's picture

you're working off bad info here. It was widely reported that Nabby would report to any team who claimed him by his agent. This turns out to have been a lie. Osgood was misquoted and furious about that when the Isles beat writer contacted him directly. Finally, Nabby gave up his right to choose his team when he left for the KHL. He made his choice and knew that when he had to go through waivers he could be claimed by anyone. The Isles were unfortunately down a goaltender with Lawson hurt, and with DP fighting the flu and Poulin a better option to have in the AHL playing big minutes, Nabby was an obvious upgrade to help the team

The funny thing is that you're critical of the Isles doing what they can to improve their team and following the rules, when the player is choosing to not report. All I see is a player who can't get his way throwing a hissy fit.

I'd actually hope the Isles petition the NHL to toll his contract for next season, so he ends up missing another year because of bad judgment.

If you sign the contract and are aware of the probabilities, claim you'll report to anyone and then don't when it happens there is no fault on the team, that's all on the player and his agent.

I respect snow for doing something to try and help the team through the rest of a miserable year.

Glen Miller's picture

Do you have a link on Osgood being misquoted? I have yet to see anything. I am not criticizing the Isles for trying to improve their team I am being critical of them trying to add a player that probably wouldn't report. I am not an insider and obviously must rely on what the major sites report. I've read in multiple spots that a letter was sent to every team asking them not to claim him. If I was Garth Snow I probably would have called Meehan to see what Nabokov's interest would have been in joining the Isles. If he did and was led to believe Nabby would play for NYI then shame on him and me (for jumping the gun). Actually this is why I waited several days to write anything about it. I wanted more details to come up. I didn't want to be like the NFL players cracking oN Cutler for being a pansy when it turned out he hadd a real injury.

ss1983's picture

Here's the piece on Osgood from the link. Not completely your fault regarding the Osgood situation because there were reports of him making those comments. Hey, your a Ranger fan writing an unflattering article about the Islanders...what did you expect to come your way?

In Which Chris Osgood Trashes his Former Team and Buddy, Except Not Really

It just wouldn't be a typical Islanders drama if in addition to the off-ice intrigue there wasn't another mini-drama to get fans all pissed off within a 15-minute period.

Cue Larry Lage, an AP writer who apparently horribly, horribly misattributed -- not even misquoted -- comments to Chris Osgood. (The original story under Lage's byline was here, but that story has since been totally revised and resubmitted by AP writer Ira Podell.

The original misquotes to Osgood -- quotes that supposedly the reporter heard in the Wings room but misattributed to Osgood, the former Islanders goalie and Snow creasemate, the goalie whom the Isles claimed off waivers a decade ago as he promptly led them to the playoffs:

"I haven’t put much thought into it, but the Islanders are terrible so I’m not sure why they did that," said Osgood, a former New York goalie.

The "seething" corrections, via the Twitter feed of Katie Strang of Newsday:

"Absolutely ridiculous," Osgood said

Said he absolutely did not say that and is outraged since he always sticks up for Islanders and his good buddy Garth Snow when ppl rip org
Said he has already discussed situation with DET reporter, who apparently overheard someone else say it around scrum and attributed to him
Osgood said he loved his time on LI and that’s why he gets so mad when people discount the team; said Nabokov would’ve been great pickup
The (actual) quotes from Osgood as reported by Podell:

"I thought he would’ve been a good pickup for us if he came here—even though it could’ve affected me," Osgood said. "I think it was a great pickup for the Islanders. They have Ricky (DiPietro) and some good, young goalies. I would imagine there were five or six other teams that would’ve wanted him, too. I didn’t think he’d end up here, but it was a good move that Kenny (Holland) made because it would’ve made us better.

"I’m surprised he wasn’t in the league this year because he is a great goalie."

ss1983's picture

As far as the rule. Originally, yes i did think it was stupid, but once the rationale was brought to my attention regarding blocking teams from basically artificially stacking their lineup prior to the playoffs by adding players from outside leagues it makes perfect sense for me. If he hadnt signed with the KHL then he wouldve been free to play for whoever he wants because he still would have been a free agent. Unfortunately, he wanted money and he signed somewhere else so then he had to abide by the rules.

George Prax's picture

Glen mentioned why the rule was put into place in the 80s, and yes to a certain degree it makes sense, but it's not like the Wings were hiding Nabokov in Russia until one of their goalies went down with an injury. They legitimately went out and signed a player who couldn't find a suitable contract in the summer, and decided he wanted another go at it now. I don't see anything wrong with that. It's no different than a player signing a contract on July 1st, yet because Nabokov played elsewhere for a couple of months that means any team has free reign over picking him up? i don't buy that. Detroit and St. Louis has legitimate needs in going out and signing these players. They spent resources on scouting, legal matter, etc in order to sign them, and after all that effort, a guy like snow who would never attract a good goalie like Nabokov in free agency can just undo all of it? It's not right.

Nabokov, a free agent, wanted to sign with a specific team as a free agent. It may be unfair for us to speculate as to what Meehan sent to other teams or what was reported about what Nabokov would do if claimed, but it's not like Snow couldn't have seen something like this coming. I get that it's the rules, and the rule has a reason for being in place, but clearly that doesn't apply here, and that makes it unfair. Now Snow ruins an NHL career, he burns a bridge with the Red Wings and potentially Don Meehan as an agent, and he alienates potential free agents by doing something like this. Clearly Snow didn't think this through and simply jumped at the shot of picking up a goaltender on name value. It's not like he can trade him either, so what the hell was the point?

I agree with Glen, this was kind of a bitch move, and the rule needs to be updated. Set a limit for when players can sign, like the December trade freeze date. Hell, make it impossible for these players to come back after playing in another league even. But I don't understand what makes Nabokov different from any free agent that signs on July 1st, or even a guy like Forsberg who's doing the same thing, only he didn't play in Russia for 22 games.

And just one other comment I'd like to make, whatever team Glen roots for is irrelevant here. Just because Glen Sather may make the occasional sleazy move has no bearing on his opinion here. Glen didn't make those moves and he may not always agree with them, even. He's totally entitled to his opinion on this matter, as am I as a Habs fan or as anyone else is. I get that Isles fans would be upset that a player would outright refuse to go to their team, but maybe you guys should use this as an opportunity to look at the bigger picture and the situation with the isles... why don't the Isles attract free agents? Is there maybe something wrong with how Wang and Snow do business? Clearly the organization has a fair amount of problems, and I think this situation ties those problems all up into a nice little bow.

ss1983's picture

George, i have no problem with what the Red Wings did and I dont believe there was a single person anywhere who said the Red Wings did anything wrong. You mention that Detroit and St. Louis both had needs and signed players, but you failed to mention that both the players St. Louis signed were claimed off of waivers and not a peep was said about the team who claimed them. Now that the Islanders claim someone and its a big problem. Your basically blaming the Islanders for the CBA. Look at what you are writing. So the "rule doesnt apply" because the Islanders need a goalie? Cmon, man. Snow didnt think this through? How about, Nabakov didnt think this through. Theres no way he was clearing waivers. If you have any insight to what was going on with the Islanders you would know why they picked him up. Dont feed into all the other speculative garbage that is written about the Islanders by writers who know absolutely nothing about the situation.

Now your contradicting yourself with the rules. Can they be better? Yea i absolutely think so, but a "btich move"? Your post is comical. What if another team out of the playoffs claimed him which most likely would have been the case. "Bitch move" also? Just let the better teams in the league do as they please? You argue that the rule is terrible, but then you call for it to be impossible for a person who plays in another league to play in the NHL again that year. Your barking up the wrong tree. Dont blame the Islanders because of the way the CBA reads. Listen to your argument. Your blaming the Isles because of the CBA.

By the way, theres obviously problems with the Islanders that need to be addressed, but Glens team and your team for that matter are relevant. Just like Glen said. Dont throw stones if you live in a glass house. If your going to poke jabs at another team you better make sure that your team is in the clear. Opinion or not, the story had little merit and false information.

George Prax's picture
ss1983 wrote:

George, i have no problem with what the Red Wings did and I dont believe there was a single person anywhere who said the Red Wings did anything wrong. You mention that Detroit and St. Louis both had needs and signed players, but you failed to mention that both the players St. Louis signed were claimed off of waivers and not a peep was said about the team who claimed them. Now that the Islanders claim someone and its a big problem. Your basically blaming the Islanders for the CBA. Look at what you are writing. So the "rule doesnt apply" because the Islanders need a goalie? Cmon, man. Snow didnt think this through? How about, Nabakov didnt think this through. Theres no way he was clearing waivers. If you have any insight to what was going on with the Islanders you would know why they picked him up. Dont feed into all the other speculative garbage that is written about the Islanders by writers who know absolutely nothing about the situation.

Now your contradicting yourself with the rules. Can they be better? Yea i absolutely think so, but a "btich move"? Your post is comical. What if another team out of the playoffs claimed him which most likely would have been the case. "Bitch move" also? Just let the better teams in the league do as they please? You argue that the rule is terrible, but then you call for it to be impossible for a person who plays in another league to play in the NHL again that year. Your barking up the wrong tree. Dont blame the Islanders because of the way the CBA reads. Listen to your argument. Your blaming the Isles because of the CBA.

By the way, theres obviously problems with the Islanders that need to be addressed, but Glens team and your team for that matter are relevant. Just like Glen said. Dont throw stones if you live in a glass house. If your going to poke jabs at another team you better make sure that your team is in the clear. Opinion or not, the story had little merit and false information.

I mentioned the Blues and the players they signed precisely because I think that what the Sharks and Preds did to them was wrong too. Maybe worse. The Sharks have done plenty of things like this in the past and they're turning out to be a classless organization as well, and I wouldn't be surprised if they had picked up Nabokov if the Isles hadn't. The only reason the Nabokov situation is more at the forefront and has more publicity. But there really isn't any difference between the two, and there wouldn't have been a difference if it was any other team.

And I'm not blaming the Isles for the CBA, I'm blaming the Isles for taking advantage of a situation for pretty much no reason at all. Like I said, this waiver rule was put into place to stop blatant cheaters from hoarding players abroad. This isn't the case with Nabokov, and the Isles took advantage of an outdated rule to stir the pot for pretty much no reason at all. What's the problem with wanting an amendment or update to this rule? Yes, I would prefer it if players who went abroad wouldn't be allowed to play in the league at all the season after they left, because that would make these players think twice about going, and it wouldn't allow for situations like these to happen. Nabokov isn't playing either way, but the difference could mean the end OF HIS CAREER.

And no, our favorite teams have absolutely nothing to do with it. I don't run the Montreal Canadiens, and Glen doesn't run the New York Rangers, so why should we be held responsible for their management's actions just because we cheer for the product on the ice? In fact, you'll frequently see me going against some of the moves of the Habs, so how exactly is it at all relevant? And like I already mentioned, if the Sharks did the exact same time, or hell, even a bottom feeder like the Devils, a lot of isles fans might be right on the bash boat along with us. So don't talk to me about glass houses. Just because you don't like something that goes against your team doesn't mean it was based on false information either. It's pretty clear what happened here and that if anyone is the bad guy, it's Snow and the Isles for taking advantage of things. Because I don't see how this is a positive for anyone involved.

ss1983's picture

By the way, its easy to see why fans view the Islanders as jokes. A lot of moves they make are out of the ordinary and sometimes just dont make sense at all. However, most articles written about the franchise are from writers who know zero about the situation, get nothing as far as information or quotes from the franchise itself and are just pure opinion and speculation. This is the only crap that anyone whos not an Islander fan reads. So its easy to see where you guys are coming from because the public view of the Islanders are that they are a joke. I dont agree with many things the franchise does, but they get bashed for things solely because they are the Islanders (ie: Nabakov). This is why fans get angered over things that are written that dont have proper research and insight involved in the article.

George Prax's picture
ss1983 wrote:

By the way, its easy to see why fans view the Islanders as jokes. A lot of moves they make are out of the ordinary and sometimes just dont make sense at all. However, most articles written about the franchise are from writers who know zero about the situation, get nothing as far as information or quotes from the franchise itself and are just pure opinion and speculation. This is the only crap that anyone whos not an Islander fan reads. So its easy to see where you guys are coming from because the public view of the Islanders are that they are a joke. I dont agree with many things the franchise does, but they get bashed for things solely because they are the Islanders (ie: Nabakov). This is why fans get angered over things that are written that dont have proper research and insight involved in the article.

Ya, clearly the best source is the Isles themselves, since, you know, they don't take away anyone's credentials or anything like that simply for not always saying positive things about the organization. The isles do things like this all the time, and it takes them nowhere. It's been the same vicious circle for two decades. People don't bash the Isles simply because they're the Isles, they do things to bring this negative attention unto them.

Isles79's picture
George Prax wrote:
ss1983 wrote:

By the way, its easy to see why fans view the Islanders as jokes. A lot of moves they make are out of the ordinary and sometimes just dont make sense at all. However, most articles written about the franchise are from writers who know zero about the situation, get nothing as far as information or quotes from the franchise itself and are just pure opinion and speculation. This is the only crap that anyone whos not an Islander fan reads. So its easy to see where you guys are coming from because the public view of the Islanders are that they are a joke. I dont agree with many things the franchise does, but they get bashed for things solely because they are the Islanders (ie: Nabakov). This is why fans get angered over things that are written that dont have proper research and insight involved in the article.

Ya, clearly the best source is the Isles themselves, since, you know, they don't take away anyone's credentials or anything like that simply for not always saying positive things about the organization. The isles do things like this all the time, and it takes them nowhere. It's been the same vicious circle for two decades. People don't bash the Isles simply because they're the Isles, they do things to bring this negative attention unto them.

Botta is a former employee who made himself into a much more important person in his own mind. We're talking about a blogger having his credentials revoked. You do realize that Milbury isn't the GM anymore and that we're not trading away our first rounders and kids?

things have changed. Perception has not which is why people jump on every story as though no one else has ever done anything this crazy before. How dare they revoke the credentials of a blogger. How dare they claim a goaltender on waivers who's own agent had said he would report to whoever claimed him?

Much ado about nothing.

ss1983's picture

By the way, its easy to see why fans view the Islanders as jokes. A lot of moves they make are out of the ordinary and sometimes just dont make sense at all. However, most articles written about the franchise are from writers who know zero about the situation, get nothing as far as information or quotes from the franchise itself and are just pure opinion and speculation. This is the only crap that anyone whos not an Islander fan reads. So its easy to see where you guys are coming from because the public view of the Islanders are that they are a joke. I dont agree with many things the franchise does, but they get bashed for things solely because they are the Islanders (ie: Nabakov). This is why fans get angered over things that are written that dont have proper research and insight involved in the article.

ss1983's picture

By the way, its easy to see why fans view the Islanders as jokes. A lot of moves they make are out of the ordinary and sometimes just dont make sense at all. However, most articles written about the franchise are from writers who know zero about the situation, get nothing as far as information or quotes from the franchise itself and are just pure opinion and speculation. This is the only crap that anyone whos not an Islander fan reads. So its easy to see where you guys are coming from because the public view of the Islanders are that they are a joke. I dont agree with many things the franchise does, but they get bashed for things solely because they are the Islanders (ie: Nabakov). This is why fans get angered over things that are written that dont have proper research and insight involved in the article.

braggs6's picture

Not one post has been critical of either the San Jose Sharks or the Nashville Predators. They chose Wellwood and Svatos respectively. Why is their situation different than Nabakov? Because they choose to report to those teams? We you continue to miss is the fact that Nabakov didn't get the money he wanted in the NHL so chose to tae his gear and go back home. When he realized the "K" is not "The Show" he comes with his tail between his legs to sign with the mighty Wings. What if the Flyers grabbed him? Better yet, what if Toronto grabbed him? Does he report? Per the CBA he gave up his right as a free agent of the NHL once he chose to play in the KHL.
For once in life, make someone pay the price for the decision they make in life. Where does Nabaov get off saying, "well it didn't work out for me here, let's look at the NHL and let's see which team is tops mid way and then I'll sign there." Sorry pal, off to the Island you go or make another choice about never playing again.
Mr. Nabakov, you live with that decision.

Glen Miller's picture

Just a couple of other points. Nashville and San Jose each had other motives rather than just needing the player. They were keeping a team they are competing with for a playoff spot and/or positioning with from adding offensive help. However, I don't like that either. I understand the strategy employed in all cases, including the Isles, but I wrote about this situation because to me the Isles grabbing him made less sense than the others and it was the most recent. I didn't necessarily mean to absolve San Jose and Nashville.

The other thing I want to mention is it may not be fair to guess what is/was in Nabokov's mind now or back in July. It is possible he correctly guessed he wouldn't be able to get the contract he either wanted or thought he deserved and took the money the KHL offered. Might it also have factored into his decision that Russia was where he was born and it would be nice to play in his home country? Of course the money made a difference but also the prestige of being one of the few established NHL'ers to jump to the KHL.

To me it speaks volumes that he evidently walked away from all or most of the KHL money to come "home." He probably underestimated how much he and his family would miss North America. He took the minimum or close to it in NHL salary so that choice wasn't about the money.

Look, if it were next summer and the Isles wanted to sign a guy like Nabokov then I get it. That makes sense and I would hope Nabokov would entertain that option. In the summer their is hope and there is a plan for a veteran like Nabokov to serve a real role in NY. Right now what opportunity does he have? To make a really bad team a little bit better and protect a young goalie? In Detroit, or with another playoff team, he had a chance to win a cup. Given those two options I would have gone the same route.

Here's a solution: how about any player in Nabokov's spot, instead of being allowed to agree to terms with a team and then going through waivers, subject the player to waivers first. The team that wins the waiver claim then has a period of time to negotiate a contract with the player. If he doesn't then he can't play in the NHL until the following season. Seriously, what's the point for St. Louis and now Detroit to go through all of the time and effort to reach agreement with players that would help them only to see another team practically steal them.

In Nabokov's current case, because he has a binding 1 year SPC and the Islanders own that contract, he stands to miss next season too unless he chooses to play for the Islanders and that doesn't quite seem fair. At least with my solution he is out only for the balance of the current season and would be free to sign with anyone this summer.

My solution doesn't even give the player the opportunity to pick his own team. There is no chance he goeas to the team he wants. That way he knows when he signs in the KHL he will have two options. What for the summer or subject himself to the waivers process if he really wants to play in the NHL. Don't even waste the time of negotiating with a team.

Isles79's picture

so as I'm reading this, all I see is that because you didn't understand why the Isles took Nabokov, the rule needs to be changed? The other two players signed and taken off waivers weren't even mentioned until someone else brought them up yet the Isles are the ones who get bashed? If anything, the Isles NEED was far greater in that they only fully healthy goaltender they had on the roster was Poulin, a 20 year old who should be in the AHL. Why should a player be able to scorn the NHL, then come back and have a choice on whether or not to follow the rules or report?

why are the Isles the bad guy in this? Nabokov left the NHL, then got out of another contract, and now doesn't want to honor this one. How in the world do you defend his behavior and dump this on Snow?

Glen Miller's picture

Actually I did mention both Wellwood and Svatos by name and the teams that claimed them. And as for Nabokov getting out of his deal in the KHL it was a mutual agreement to terminate. To say he "scorned" the NHL may not quite be fair either. He did make a decision, whether it was purely financial or at least based in part on playing in his home country I can only guess, to go to the KHL but he was a free agent this summer. Just like he was called a free agent when his contract was terminated (again mutually). Except he wasn't treated like a free agent; he was treated like an amateur player being drafted for the first time.

Glen Miller's picture

I understand why the Isles needed a goalie but was Nabokov even the best option? I have no problem with the Isles grabbing a defense prospect and dealing Roloson away. Why Nabokov to come there though? Why not find someone that would have fit better. How about a guy like Emery who is just burning to show people he can play at this level. Nabokov's reasons for signing with Detroit in the first place were pretty clear. I would question why his agent ever said he was open to playing for anyone unless he didn't believe a non-contender would claim him. Meehan is an experienced veteran agent so I find it hard to believe he didn't at least consider that possibility.

Look, I appreciate the passion you guys have for the Islanders and in fact I said that I respect Islanders fans. This isn't an attack on you guys and it has nothing to do with my particular fandom of the Rangers. This is a questionable move in my opinion. If you've ever read my other stuff you'll see where I crack on Slats and the Rangers too. This was a hot button topic during a week off of hockey so I offered my opinion. I'm glad I helped create discussion on the subject but please, don't take it as me attacking you guys as Islanders fans.

George Prax's picture
Isles79 wrote:

so as I'm reading this, all I see is that because you didn't understand why the Isles took Nabokov, the rule needs to be changed? The other two players signed and taken off waivers weren't even mentioned until someone else brought them up yet the Isles are the ones who get bashed? If anything, the Isles NEED was far greater in that they only fully healthy goaltender they had on the roster was Poulin, a 20 year old who should be in the AHL. Why should a player be able to scorn the NHL, then come back and have a choice on whether or not to follow the rules or report?

why are the Isles the bad guy in this? Nabokov left the NHL, then got out of another contract, and now doesn't want to honor this one. How in the world do you defend his behavior and dump this on Snow?

Clearly you weren't reading anything since Glen mentioned the two players St. Louis tried to sign in the post as did I in my first comment here. The reasons the Nabokov situation is more at the forefront of the news is because A) He's a higher profile player than Wellwood or Svatos and B) he was the only one out of the three who stood up for himself and refuse to report to a team that should have no business claiming him.

Nabokov's contract was with the Red Wings. That's the contract he signed, after negotiations with Ken Holland. Not with Garth Snow. If Snow knew how to run a team properly he wouldn't have to resort to stealing players from other teams in order to improve his own.

ss1983's picture

As i read responses, all i hear is complaining about the CBA. Its four paragraphs of complaining about the CBA. Then you throw in that the Islanders are the bad guys because they took advantage of the rule obviously having no clue why they claimed him in the first place. As i mentioned earlier and "isles79" mentioned afterwards, the Isles had 1 completely healthy goalie and he was a 20 year old prospect.

"And I'm not blaming the Isles for the CBA, I'm blaming the Isles for taking advantage of a situation for pretty much no reason at all" - George Prax (see above)

Regarding Nabakov's career: I dont think missing the final 30 games of a season that he wasnt planning on playing anyway is going to ruin his career. Bottom line, Nabakov f'd up. He signed a 4 year deal in the KHL. Obviously, wasnt planning on coming back to the NHL. Realized he screwed up and now he put himself in a situation where he will have to go through waivers. If he nixed the deal and waited til next season to come back to the NHL he could go anywhere he wanted. The world doesnt stop for Evgeni Nabakov.

Maybe you can blame his agent for the ignorance of not telling Nabakov that the chances of him actually passing through waivers are slim to none. But that would just be pure speculation wouldnt it? Point the finger wherever you want, just dont point it at the Isles for doing nothing wrong, but try to improve their hockey club and protect their prospects.

If you are also referring to Chris Botta with the Isles sources comment, that also makes no sense. The Osgood comments were not denounced by Botta. I dont question that the Isles do things to bring negative attention to themselves, but abiding by the rules and claiming a player off waivers is not one of them.

ss1983's picture

Hey, atleast it was interesting to discuss.

Glen Miller's picture
ss1983 wrote:

Hey, atleast it was interesting to discuss.

Yes, yes it was. Smile