Islanders won't let Lubomir Visnovsky play in Sochi

Lubomir Visnovsky shoots the puck in the first

Lubomir Visnovsky shoots the puck in the first period against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 31, 2014. (Credit: Jim McIsaac)

Just before Lubomir Visnovsky returned from a lengthy absence because of a concussion, Islanders general manager Garth Snow said the team was loath to let Visnovsky play for the Slovak team in Sochi.

Now that Visnovsky has returned -- he played his fifth game Thursday night after missing the previous 46 -- the Islanders' stance has not changed.

Snow made it clear in a brief conversation with Newsday that the team will not allow Visnovsky to play for his country in the Olympic hockey tournament, which begins next week.

"We just don't feel comfortable letting him go," Snow said.

Visnovsky had held out hope that two weeks of NHL games might be enough to get him into a fifth Olympics, but he accepted the Islanders' decision.

With Visnovsky signed for next season and having missed so much time with a tricky injury, the Isles didn't see the upside.

Visnovsky joins Steven Stamkos (Canada), Henrik Sedin (Sweden) and Marian Gaborik (Slovakia) in the group of NHL elites who won't be going to Sochi on Sunday because of injury or risk of further injury.

Hamonic closer to return

Travis Hamonic (concussion) had another full skate as he inches closer to returning. He's been out after leaving the game in Dallas on Jan. 12.

Jack Capuano indicated that if Hamonic continues to improve and be without symptoms, he could be activated off injured reserve to play Saturday against the Avalanche.

Tavares sad for Stamkos

John Tavares and Stamkos are friends, so the news that Stamkos, who suffered a broken leg Nov. 11, will not be able to play for Canada in Sochi was tough. "I saw him here a month ago and he was real upbeat," Tavares said. "It's definitely tough for him, not getting to realize a dream all of us have had."

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