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Nabokov: Villain or Victim?

Posted by hockeyfan87, 24 January 2011 · 392 views

Nabokov Islanders Snow
Everyone has been following the on-going Evgeni Nabokov news the last couple weeks and it's mainly be focused around the choices Nabokov has or has not made. First to return to the NHL and then to not report to the Islanders in rather comical fashion by hanging up on the former backup goalie, now general manager of the team Garth Snow.

But what about Snow's responsibility in this matter? It was only a few weeks ago he traded away veteran net minder Dwayne Roloson to theTampa Bay Lightning for prospect Ty Wishart. A clear sign that the Islanders are thinking past this season and into the future. A state of mind that players and fans of the team may not like but one that is reasonable in the big picture of the ailing franchise.

Then in the middle of last week the Islanders put in a claim for 35 year old Russian goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Nabokov a proven vet decided to return to the NHL with playoff aspirations, something that had gone largely unsatisfied during his time in San Jose. The Detroit Red Wings signed him to a contract prorated at $575,000 for the remainder of the season but in order to join the club Nabokov had to clear waivers because a player is subject to waivers in the NHL if they had played in another professional organization during the current season (Nabokov started the season in the KHL).

The question therefore arises, somewhat naturally, to the lack of competence of general manager Garth Snow. He had a player of similar value and experience that fulfilled the same role Nabokov would but decided in the best interest of the organization to trade that player only a few weeks prior. Nabokov would have had made it clear to people in the hockey world that he only wanted to return to a playoff bound team and one which he would get an opportunity toplay a few games.

Regardless of the fit or player's wishes Snow put in a claim for the player, something he had the opportunity to think over for a few days.The fact that he didn't contact Nabokov before hand shows just how inept the Islanders organization remains. Not only did Snow do Nabokov a disservice by his actions but he now holds the fate of the player in his hands. Could anything be less fair? You would have to think given hindsight young superstar John Tavares would have liked the option of not reporting given the mess this franchise will remain in with Wang and Snow at the helm.



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I wonder though, did any other teams put in a claim? Do the Islanders just happen to be the worst team trying to gain the services of Nabokov? Would the wrath toward Snow be the same toward Columbus if they thought Nabokov was the key to get back into the playoffs (currently 4 pts out of 8th place)?
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The worst part is that Snow and Wang remain convinced that Nabokov will somehow be persuaded by the city, fans, and team to join them. This is all a farce. The Islanders have repeatedly overrated how well their organization is run. They need to take off those rose-coloured glasses and realize that top players don't want to play for a losing team in a decrepit rink. Even if it is in New York, but that's why you have the Rangers.
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I wonder though, did any other teams put in a claim? Do the Islanders just happen to be the worst team trying to gain the services of Nabokov? Would the wrath toward Snow be the same toward Columbus if they thought Nabokov was the key to get back into the playoffs (currently 4 pts out of 8th place)?


That's a fair point. There is a real possibility that another non-playoff bound team did have a waiver claim for Nabokov. But I guess the crux of the matter is the player signed the contract with a specific intent and he signed it with another team. If he doesn't want to be part of your organization and his aims are different than those that your franchise have than there should, in my opinion, not be a waiver claim placed on him. Nabokov isn't a player just looking to make the league minimum, he's made his money he wants playoff success.
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I wonder though, did any other teams put in a claim? Do the Islanders just happen to be the worst team trying to gain the services of Nabokov? Would the wrath toward Snow be the same toward Columbus if they thought Nabokov was the key to get back into the playoffs (currently 4 pts out of 8th place)?


Nabokov never wanted to join the islanders in the first place. There was already a deal in place with detroit, but the islanders stepped in and claimed him. In my mind, the islanders are the villans and nabokov is the victim.
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Nabokov made one key mistake, in saying that he would report to any team that claimed him off of waivers. I'm pretty sure that if he had not made this claim, the Islanders wouldn't have picked him up. The fact that he's going back on his words is somewhat bad... I can understand where he's coming from with not wanting to play with the Islanders, but he shouldn't have made that claim if he wasn't going to back it up.
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