| Another strange Nabokov
Former Sharks goaltender trips
Day two of the Evgeni Nabokov saga got a little
wackier when the former Sharks goaltender hung up on New York Islanders General
Manager Garth Snow, who was trying to make contact with his newly claimed
player. A day after plucking Nabokov off the waiver wire, Snow called Nabokov
to see when he would be traveling to Long Island to join the Islanders. After
introducing himself, the phone went dead.
Nabokovs agent to see what was going on, and see if he could connect him
with the prickly netminder. By the afternoon, Nabokov was back tracking, saying
that he didnt know it was Snow when the phone call was cut short.
Nabokov was also defending his actions to stay in California, rather
"I think I'm going to stay home for now, I'm sticking
with my decision," Nabokov told ESPN.com on Sunday. "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
Its too bad Nabokov wasnt at that point in
his career when he played for San Jose.
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.
"I was surprised they
picked me up. I was like, 'Wow, what's the point?"
' While Snows
actions might be bewildering to Nabokov, the Russian goaltenders decision
to sign a relatively cheap contract with the Detroit Red Wings and expect it
not be claimed by another team is the real head scratcher. When you consider
the success the Red Wings have enjoyed the last 10 years, what team wants to
make it easier for them to succeed?
Nabokov had an opportunity to sign
with any NHL club of his choosing last summer, but his salary demands obviously
werent in line with the expectations of league general managers. He took
the money that the KHL had to offer, which turned into a mistake after he and
SKA St. Petersburg mutually terminated the deal.
collective bargaining agreement stipulates that he must clear waivers in order
to sign with another club, so the rules were very clear.
the rules," Nabokov told ESPN.com. "We're not stupid. We knew what was going on
before we made the decision. But I made this decision because the goal was to
play with Detroit."
It would seem that Nabokov was essentially just
rolling the dice, hoping that hed either make it through the waiver
process, or perhaps be grabbed by another competitor with a shot at making a
playoff run. Chicago seemed like a likely candidate to nab Nabby, but the
Blackhawks never got the chance.
Theres been more than enough discussion on
internet message boards by hopeful Sharks fans that their former goaltender
might somehow make a return to San Jose, but that was all but impossible, given
the absence of any cap space and the fact that they have two serviceable
goaltenders on their roster.
With Antero Niittymaki being placed on
injured reserve, it looked as if the door might be opening, but it seems
unlikely that Sharks General Manager Doug Wilson would even want Nabokovs
Wilson cut ties with Nabokov last summer and didnt
even bother to attempt to negotiate a reduced salary. Wilsons mind was
made up the second the Blackhawks eliminated San Jose from the playoffs last
Also consider that Wilson believes he has a goaltender that
can get his team over the hump. It was this time last season that Antti Niemi
began to make his mark on the Blackhawks run. If Wilson follows trends, then
hell look to Niemi to guide the Sharks to the promise land.
Nabokovs spring trends dont exude much confidence.
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