After claiming goaltender Evgeni Nabokov off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings, the New York Islanders essentially played dumb when asked about reports that Nabokov wouldn't report to the club. Owner Charles Wang and general manager Garth Snow toe'd the company line, saying that Nabokov was an Islander and that they expected him to report.
Well, he's not reporting. He doesn't want to be an Islander. So instead of waiving him again, which Nabokov certainly wanted so he'd have the chance to play for another team, the team has suspended him. Via the team:
The New York Islanders have suspended Evgeni Nabokov for not reporting after being claimed off of waivers on Jan. 22. The 35-year-old goaltender signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings on Jan 20.
It's understandable why Nabokov would be irritated here. He left Russia and waited around for an NHL opportunity, ultimately getting one with the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings signed him to a contract. The Islanders, as the team with the worst record among those that entered a claim, won his rights via waivers, since the rules say that any player coming from Europe must clear waivers before playing for the team that signs them.
That rule is in place to keep teams from stowing players in the European leagues during the long NHL regular season grind, only to bring them back in time for the playoffs at a minimal salary cap hit. It makes sense.
Still, that doesn't bode well for Nabokov. As a result of the suspension, he won't be playing for the Islanders, he won't get paid and he won't have the opportunity to play for another team. He's basically back where he was last week -- a prisoner on his own couch without an NHL gig.
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