Nabokov Signed By Wings, Claimed by Isles…

When I woke this morning on a bone chilling New England Monday (minus 11 degrees pre-wind chill to be exact) I felt the need to stay in bed a little longer and surf the interwebs a little bit. I came across this story on TSN (the best source for NHL information) that raised my eyebrows quite a bit.

Evgeni Nabokov was a goaltender for 10 seasons in the NHL with San Jose Sharks before leaving for the KHL, Russia’s elite professional league, at the conclusion of the 2009-2010 season.  In 563 NHL games Nabokov compiled a 2.39 goals against average, a save percentage of .912, and put up 50 shutouts.  The bottom line is he was good and was consistant for many years.

Fast forward to yesterday.  The 35 year old Russian clearly decides that his career is not complete without a Stanley Cup and signs a one year deal with the Detroit Red Wings.  The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement states that anyone who plays in a professional league before signing an NHL contract must clear waivers. So, Nabokov and the Wings ink a deal and Evgeni goes on waivers leaving him vulnerable to be claimed by any NHL team in a 24 hour period should they wish to take on his contract.  Insert the New York Islanders, a team with the 3rd worst record in the league.

The Islanders claimed Nabokov off waivers, thus making him a member of the Isles organization.  To make a long story short (see the above link to get the full story), Nabokov has yet to report to Long Island…and I don’t blame him.  Nabby has reached a point in his career where a cup is the most important thing for him.  He has already lived the dream of playing in the world’s greatest hockey league and playing for just anyone would do nothing for him.  For what he has achieved thus far, he has every right to tell the Islanders to go screw.

The Isles have no chance at making any kind of dent in the playoffs and even with Nabokov in net they probably still won’t even make the playoffs.  I don’t feel bad for the Red Wings here either.  They knew what they were getting into by signing Nabokov and having to put him through waivers…that’s just the way it goes.  The Islanders put their hand into something that could have been a great story but now they are just messing with a guy’s career.  I know the Isles played by the rules but, sometimes there’s a code of ethics involved and I imagine that the other GM’s around the league aren’t to fond of Garth Snow at this moment.

What’s your take?  Are the Isles actions acceptable or is Nabokov being a baby?


5 Responses

  1. I don’t want to be mean, but why would anyone in New England, or anywhere outside of Detroit and Long Island, care about this story?

  2. It’s a sports blog G, we try to cover anything that might be of interest.

    On that note, my feelings toward this are mixed.

    On one hand, Nabokov had to of known there was potential for him to be claimed with the weird NHL free agent rules. He can be at fault for this soap opera.

    On the other hand, why the hell are Isles claiming him? They are essentially playing for a draft pick and it doesnt make sense to take a one year flyer on a guy, when they can be developing someone else in DiPietro’s absence.

    At the end of the day, Nabokov is being a baby because he is not getting his way. He isn’t the classical version of what know as a free agent. He knew there was potential for him to not clear waivers. The Islanders are just operating within the rules of the game.

  3. “It’s a sports blog G, we try to cover anything that might be of interest.”… ‘of interest’ is a key part of that sentence. My question, and still remains, is why would anyone who reads this blog, because it is a New England sports blog after all, find this article interesting?

  4. The Islanders claimed Nabokov under the same reasoning the Leafs claimed Giguere last season. There is a market for old goaltenders, because it puts more fans in the seats, unlike no-names like Pavelec in Atlanta or Dan Ellis In Tampa, and it takes a year or two to groom a solid golatender nowadays (see Tuukka Rask). But I agree, not with who cares about the post, because anything hockey for me is relevant, but I agree with who cares about the Islanders? In my opinion, they make one bad decision after another, since the not so glory days of Mike Milbury, and they haven’t been relevant since I have been able to walk. Nabakov or no Nabakov, he won’t make a difference for them. I commend NY for trying to shake things up, for once, and Nabakov IS being a child, because at the end of the day Evgeni, its a business / job / pay check. Unless you want to go back to Russia, where the skates sharpen themselves…

  5. G- The point of this post was not about Detroit, Long Island, or even Nabokov. The reason I wanted to raise the question was the actual situation. It was a topic I was pretty fenced on and wanted to see how other people felt. Between the hits on here for this actual post, the debate on my fb page where i posted this, and from discussions with friends and people at work I could absolutely debate the “of interest” portion of your compelling “argument”. Just because you don’t care to look into the reasoning behind a post doesn’t mean others don’t care.

    Tazzi- I think you summed it up the best. The Islanders are def being queer but they are playing by the rules so Nabokov needs to pull his skirt back up and play.

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