Lubomir Visnovsky to stay in Russia, won't join Islanders

Ezra Shaw

New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky wants to finish the 2012-13 season in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

It certainly doesn't appear as though Lubomir Visnovsky has any desire to play for the New York Islanders.

After being traded to the team this summer from the Anaheim Ducks for a second-round draft choice (2013), he filed to have the trade voided because of a possible loophole with a no-trade clause that he might still be in possession of from a five-year contract signed with the Edmonton Oilers in 2010.

Following an arbitrator ruling that he possessed no such clause and that the trade was legal, the NHL lockout was enacted. Visnovsky then had a legitimate excuse not to play for the team. Like many other players, he decided to seek employment overseas and signed with Slovan Bratislava of Russia's Kontinental Hockey League.

With the lockout (tentatively) over, those players are expected to come home and honor their NHL contracts. Except Visnovsky doesn't want to.

With his agent Neil Sheehy claiming it has nothing to do with the Islanders, Visnovsky wants to remain in the KHL for the rest of the 2012-13 season, via Arthur Staple of Newsday:

"I have decided to stay and continue my career in the KHL for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. I am thankful to the New York Islanders for being so good to me. My decision not to play in the NHL is due to family and personal reasons. I have made no decisions on next season. My focus now is on HC Slovan Bratislava, and enjoying my family in my home country."

However, there is a slight catch.

The NHL and KHL have a memorandum of understanding that states the leagues will respect each other's player contracts. This is to avoid one league poaching players from the other.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly has already received confirmation from the KHL that they will honor the agreement. In addition, Daly stated that if any player does not return to honor their agreement, their contract can be voided.

If this is the case, Visnovsky will not be permitted to play in any games in the KHL once the lockout officially ends.

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