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Yashin keeping options open

Alexei Yashin of the New York Islanders celebrates

Alexei Yashin of the New York Islanders celebrates scoring a second period goal against the Atlanta Thrashers after coming off the injured reserve list at the Nassau Coliseum. (December 16, 2006) Credit: Getty

The Islanders are talking with Alexei Yashin about a possible reunion, but the 37-year-old center said he is in no hurry to make up his mind about next season.

"The thing is, I'm an unrestricted free agent," Yashin said by phone Monday. "I'll look at all situations. We'll see what is the right decision for me."

On Friday, Islanders general manager Garth Snow and Yashin's agent, Mark Gandler, confirmed they have talked about possibly bringing back Yashin. The Islanders bought out the final four years of Yashin's contract for $17.63 million in 2007.

According to Gandler, the Islanders are the only NHL team to express interest in Yashin, but he added that multiple teams in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League are in the mix.

Yashin said he has no timeline on when he plans to make a decision. The KHL season begins in September; the Islanders' opening night is Oct. 8 against the Florida Panthers.

"I don't think there's a particular date. It takes time," Yashin said. "There's not any rush to make a decision."

Yashin, who signed a 10-year, $87.5-million contract with the Islanders in 2001, has spent the past four seasons playing in Russia and had 15 goals and 18 assists in 52 games last season. Does he think he has enough left to contribute to the Islanders?

"There are lots of guys my age still playing. Look at Mark Recchi. He's probably one of the reasons they won the Cup," Yashin said of the Boston Bruins forward, who is 43. "I just want to prepare to be in the best shape possible physically and mentally."

New York Sports