Earlier this week, the New York Islanders suspended goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, who was claimed off waivers by the team last Saturday. Nabokov signed a deal with the Detroit Red Wings last week, hoping to help a playoff team during the rest of the season, but the Islanders blocked the move by claiming him off waivers. Because Nabokov played in the KHL up until December, the only way he could get back into the NHL was by going through waivers, and the Islanders decided to make a move to acquire his rights.
Because Nabokov was set on playing for the Red Wings or at the very least a team that is in playoff contention, he decided not to report to the Islanders. His two options were to go ahead and play with New York or simply decide to stay at home, and he opted for the latter, saying that it was nothing personal, but he just doesn't have any desire to play for a team like the Isles.
"I think I'm going to stay home for now, I'm sticking with my decision," Nabokov told ESPN.com from his home in San Jose, Calif. "It's nothing against the Islanders and their organization. It's nothing to do with that. It's just that I'm at the point in my career where I want to help a team win in the playoffs. I don't see how I could help the Islanders or what I could do for them. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me. And I hope they understand that."
Islanders general manager Garth Snow decided to suspend Nabokov after it became clear he wasn't going to join the team. Snow's options were to suspend him or essentially cut ties with the goaltender by putting him back on waivers. The latter option would have given the Red Wings a shot at picking him back up, but now that New York has simply suspended him, that won't be happening.
The Islanders don't want to lose Nabokov's rights and give the rest of the NHL a chance at acquiring him, so for now this is basically one big stalemate. Nabokov isn't going to report to the Islanders and the Islanders aren't going to cut ties with him, so what it looks like right now is that he will be sitting out the rest of the 2010-11 season. Perhaps this offseason the Red Wings will make a move to sign Nabokov again when waivers wouldn't prevent him from heading to Detroit.