Claimed off waivers Sunday, reports indicate that goaltender Evgeni Nabokov will not report to the Isles as he wants to play on a "winning team".
I contacted Nabokov's agent, Don Meehan. I asked him if his client would join the Islanders team, and he replied:
"He has decided not to report."
ESPN Pierre LeBrun reached Nabokov through the phone Sunday afternoon during the Islanders 5-3 loss to the Sabres, which caused even the Islanders MSG announcer to bring it up.
Nabokov stated that he has "decided to stay home" and that "there was no point in the Isles picking him up".
Later in the day, Katie Strang from Newsday spoke to owner Charles Wang. Wang said that apparently the goaltender hung up on the Isles GM Garth Snow the day he was claimed, but was confused on who called him. His agent, Don, reportedly said Nabokov would call Snow back, but never did.
Strang also reported that both Garth Snow and Evgeni Nabokov made plans to speak today. So far, everything is "status quo", according to Katie.
Things even got more interesting when Peter Botte tweeted that Alexi Yashin, whose contract was bought out from the Isles a few years ago, has been in contact with Nabokov trying to motivate his former Russian teammate to play for the team.
What the Islanders could do if the goalie doesn't report
The Islanders hold the cards in this one. Nabokov is now property of the Islanders as he's even listed on their roster.
1) They could either toll his contract, which means the goaltender can not play anywhere in the NHL but the Islanders until he finishes out his contract (one season). He would not become a free agent on July 1st.
2) They could also try to trade him, but he'd have to clear waivers first
3) They could suspend him, which seems likely if he doesn't report.
The Islanders GM Garth Snow has yet to state what he wants to do with Nabokov, but an action will certainly be taken if he doesn't report.