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Nabokov Will Play For Islanders

Lauren Ammatuna |
August 2, 2011 | 1:53 p.m. PDT

Staff Writer


Nabokov was reluctant to sign with a non-contender like the Islanders. (Wikimedia Commons)
Nabokov was reluctant to sign with a non-contender like the Islanders. (Wikimedia Commons)
Evgeni Nabokov has finally agreed to play for the New York Islanders.

After another unsuccessful run for the cup in 2010, San Jose’s Doug Wilson decided that it was time to make a major change. Rumors flew around the hockey world that it was the end for either Patrick Marleau, their star forward, or Evegni Nabokov, their star goaltender. Wilson ultimately felt that there needed to be a change made at the end of the ice and sent Nabokov packing.

Unsatisfied with any offers presented to him, Nabokov decided to go play for the SKA St. Petersburg in the KHL. Due to familial circumstances, the contract was ended abruptly in December of that year. Nabokov came back to the states and was originally expected to sign with the Detroit Red Wings. But in the eleventh hour, the New York Islanders swooped in and signed “Nabby” (as he is affectionately known by his fans) off of waivers. Determined not to play for what many view as one of the least popular teams in the NHL, Nabokov refused to report to training camp. Thus, he was suspended from the NHL for the duration of the 2010-2011 season.

That brings us to today, a year after his chaotic departure from San Jose. At 36, Nabokov is on the older end of the age-spectrum of hockey players. There are many young goalies that would be willing to play for a fraction of the cost that Nabby does, so teams with interest in him are few and far between at this point.

He took the time to clear up some rumors after being accused of being far too picky when it came to not wanting to play for a non-playoff contender. He said Monday that the reason he did not play for the team last season was because he did not physically feel he could help them become playoff-bound. 

“What I want is to get back to the NHL, whether that’s with the Islanders or another team. If the Islanders think I can help them, that’s fine with me,” Nabokov said.

Whatever the reason truly is that brought him back, fans will no doubt be glad to see Nabby playing in the NHL again.


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