New York Islanders: The Evgeni Nabokov Nightmare Continues

Daniel FriedmanCorrespondent IApril 24, 2011

UNIONDALE, NY - OCTOBER 17: Doug Weight #93 of the New York Islanders is stopped by Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the San Jose Sharks at the Nassau Coliseum on October 17, 2009 in Uniondale, New York. The Sharks defeated the Islanders 4-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

On Friday, the New York Islanders announced they would toll the contract of Evgeni Nabokov, the Russian netminder who decided the Isles weren't worth his time.

What this means, is that Nabokov, who was claimed off waivers by Islanders GM Garth Snow this season, is under-contract for next season.

The team is now faced with an interesting dilemma, one that is not easily solved and has few options for the Islanders to choose from.

Basically, the Isles can either keep Nabokov, giving him a shot in training camp to make the roster, or, they can attempt to trade him during the offseason.

Finding another team willing to give up players or picks for a roll of the dice, that's not going to be a simple task.

The fact remains, Evgeni Nabokov has not played an NHL game in quite some time and, he's not getting any younger. At 35 years of age, he isn't exactly in his prime, though he's likely still a very serviceable, above-average goaltender.

He will represent Team Russia at the World Championships, an opportunity to showcase himself, to prove that the ability within Evgeni Nabokov still exists. If he plays well enough, perhaps a franchise, longing for a talented keeper, phones Snow and makes a move for the veteran goalie.

To me, the Isles' intentions for next season are clear, and I also think they're banking on the improbability that Nabokov would actually show up for training camp.

Al Montoya and Rick DiPietro are under contract for 2011-2012. Both will be the Isles' goaltenders, come October.

Meanwhile, the plan is for Kevin Poulin and Mikko Koskinen to split time in Bridgeport (AHL), with the focus on seasoning their respective games next year.

As you can see, Evgeni Nabokov doesn't quite fit into the equation.

That's why I truly believe that, if, and when, Nabby shows, Garth Snow will immediately begin working the phone lines. If Nabokov decides, once again, not to report, then the issue is resolved altogether.

To be honest, I'm not sure how welcome he'd be in the Islanders dressing room. His decision to spite the team, because they weren't good enough for him, certainly insulted his would-be teammates.

Nabokov would have much to prove, in terms of camaraderie and commitment, before he'd earn their respect.

It's going to be a wild one, of that you can be sure.


In another recent development, the Shinnecock Nation has apparently reached some kind of tentative agreement, regarding the area surrounding the Nassau Hub, on their casino interests.

Here is the excerpt from Indian Country Today Median

"The Shinnecock Indians of Southampton are reportedly negotiating with Nassau County Executive  Edward Mangano to buy 40 acres of the 77-acre Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at $120 million in a public-private deal for a gaming facility, according to WPIX-TV.

The Nation is close to signing a “memorandum of understanding” with county executives, a tribal source told The New York Post. For off-site gaming rights, the tribe is willing to settle its pending claim on thousands of high-priced acres on Long Island’s East End, the Post stated."

There's no guarantee however, that any such deal will include a redevelopment of Nassau Coliseum. Until something concrete is announced, there isn't much to make of this.


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