Although the Islanders claimed Russian goaltender Evgeni Nabokov off waivers at noon today, Newsday has confirmed he will not report.
Nabokov signed a one-year deal with Detroit as a free agent Thursday, but since he played elsewhere professionally this season, he had to clear waivers first. The Islanders jumped at the chance to snag the veteran, but he doesn't seem to share their enthusiasm.
Although a source told Newsday that he has spoken with Nabokov's agent Don Meehan and been informed of Nabokov's intentions, Snow scoffed at the possibility Nabokov won't report.
"We claimed him off waivers, he has a standard player contract," general manager Garth Snow said when reached by phone Saturday. "Our position is that he is a New York Islander and we look forward to having him."
Snow said he also doesn't want to comment further until he hears back from Nabokov personally. He has left a voice mail for Nabokov that has yet to be returned and has also booked him on a flight from San Jose to Long Island.
"He's a New York Islander. When we claimed him, we assumed that contract. We picked up a player off waivers-a good goaltender--and he's New York Islanders property."
The 35-year-old netminder has the right not to report, but will have to sit out the remainder of the NHL year as a result.
As for what will happen if Nabokov does not report--which all indications seem to affirm--Snow would not divulge.
"We'll cross that bridge once we get there," Snow said. "To me, that's not an issue right now."
Twice already this season players have been plucked off waivers after signing with another team--coincidentally the St. Louis Blues on both occasions.
After St. Louis signed Marek Svatos and Kyle Wellwood, they were claimed by Nashville and San Jose, respectively.