On the first day of Islanders rookie camp in Syosset Monday, there was one player conspicuous by his absence.
Enigmatic winger Kirill Kabanov did not skate with the rest of the Islanders prospects; he missed the rigorous two-hour practice for disciplinary reasons, according to a team official.
Kabanov, a third-round draft pick this year, was late for team physicals Sunday and was held out of practice as a result.
Although the young Russian has unquestionable talent and potential, he was also seen as a risk leading up to the draft. Kabanov was cut from the Russian under-18 team, dropped by his agent this summer and had a contentious relationship with his junior team, the Moncton Wildcats.
The Islanders took a gamble on Kabanov, 18, in June, but general manager Garth Snow insisted he wouldn't tolerate any bad behavior from the draftee.
Was this incident considered the first strike?
"I'm not going to get into a pitch count for him, but he has to learn how to abide by the team concept," Snow said while watching the prospects skate. "He has to follow the same rules as his teammates."
Coach Scott Gordon said Kabanov was told of the organization's concerns and the implications of any missteps.
When asked if he was disappointed by Kabanov's behavior, Gordon said, "Not as disappointed as he's going to be. This is an area we've talked to him about it and he's got to learn to follow the rules."
Kabanov's de facto agent - his Russian contact with the Orr Hockey Group - met with Snow and team officials during practice, presumably to address the issue and Kabanov will likely skate Tuesday.