It's Official: Nabokov Has Been Suspended
The New York Islanders claimed veteran goaltender, Evgeni Nabokov off of waivers on January 22nd after the thirty-five year old signed a contract with the Detroit Red Wings for the remainder of the season on January 20th. Garth Snow plucked the net-minder off the wire in an attempt to fill the gap that has been left between the pipes.
With Rick DiPietro's uncertain health (he's in the middle of an on-and-off battle with the flu) and Nathan Lawson out with an injury over the next 1-2 weeks, the Islanders felt it was best to bring in Nabokov since the organization did not want to rush rookie goaltender, Kevin Poulin, into a role that was too soon for his development. Therefore, Nabokov would have provided stability while allowing Poulin to remain with the Islanders AHL affiliate, the Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Although Nabokov's agent stated that his client would be happy with any NHL team, having been aware of the waiver possibility, it was clearly untrue.
Nabokov failed to report to the New York Islanders and made it clear that he does not wish to be part of the New York Islanders organization. As a result, GM Garth Snow has suspended Nabokov, which shall make him ineligible to join another NHL team this year. According to TSN, since the Islanders own his rights, Nabokov can sit out for all of next season if he never reports to the team.
Clearly Nabokov wanted to join a Stanley Cup contender since the Red Wings are at the top of the Western Conference standings. But Nabokov knew the rules and the risk he was taking by signing a contract with an NHL team after spending time this year in the KHL. Of course a rebuilding franchise may not sound appealing to an athlete at his age searching for a Stanley Cup after being unable to win one with the San Jose Sharks for parts of ten seasons, but there is less than half of the season left. This was an opportunity for Nabokov to get quality playing time and showcase himself to the rest of the league in order to get a contract with a contender next year.
His current actions may have completely ruined those chances for him.
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