3:05 pm: Agent Don Meehan says Evgeni Nabokov refuses to report to the Islanders. Garth Snow tells Katie Strang, “My position is that he’s a New York Islander and we look forward to having him.”
When the news broke I was on the road, so here was my reaction on Twitter:
“My pal Ginger in the MSG hallway: ‘Chris, Kirk Muller’s not coming.’ You mean, like tonight? No, Chris, Never.'”
“I guess when Nabokov said he’d report to any team…(fill in the blanks)”
“Guess you can say Nabokov and the Isles got what they asked for. If NYI are smart, they turn page immediately. Not worth it. Next”!
“Give credit to Isles for an honest effort to get Rex Ryan off the damn back page.”
12:10 pm: The Islanders have acquired Evgeni Nabokov on waivers. The 35-year-old goaltender will make approximately $250,000 for the remainder of this season.
Per CBA rules, Nabokov cannot be used as an asset in a trade to another team, now that the Islanders have plucked him off the waiver wire after he signed a contract with Detroit. His agent, Don Meehan, went on record to Bob McKenzie declaring that Nabokov would report to the team that acquired him on waivers. His audition for a contract for next season will be with the Islanders.
Although it wasn’t in their original plans, the Islanders save a good deal of money in the switch from Dwayne Roloson (traded Jan. 1) to adding Nabokov three weeks later. Today’s move also allows them to potentially return Kevin Poulin to the AHL for development purposes, as long as Rick DiPietro is healthy.
Remember this: as long as DiPietro is healthy enough to play, he’s going to get his share of games. You have to wonder if Meehan will get the proper “audition” he hopes for Nabokov.
For as long as they have him, the Islanders and their fans will enjoy Nabokov. Beyond his talent, the Russian goaltender is funny, an insightful interview subject and a solid teammate. He also has some integrity; he refused to talk during the playoffs about his impending status as an unrestricted free agent.