I know this story has already been beaten to death and that we usually do not make it a point to write about situations that are not related to the Flyers but I feel compelled to comment on the Evgeni Nabokov/Garth Snow showdown.
The Islanders are not doing themselves any favors by suspending the 35-year-old goaltender who outrightly stated that he wants a shot at helping a team in the playoffs. The Islanders are not a playoff team and it is likely that they won’t be one next season either, when they could still retain his rights. The organization is setting a bad precedent for themselves by holding Evgeni Nabokov hostage and suggesting he could remain out of the league next season as well.
This is the sort of situation that players will remember as they hit free agency and, someday, karma may bite New York in the rear when they need to sign a player or make a trade.
In a half-hearted effort to tie this back into the Flyers, players often discuss how well they are treated in Philadelphia and how that can be a deciding factor when choosing a new team.* While the Isles may not be on the same level as the Flyers at the moment, it’s inevitable that they will be a better team at some point in the future. In order to do so, they will need to bolster the roster. So, it is in their best interest to give Nabokov what he wants and cut him loose. Play the role of the good guys here and save some face. At a minimum, it should pay off when guys like John Tavares and Kyle Okposo near free agency.
With all due respect to this once-great franchise, Nabokov’s disinterest in reporting to New York and the ensuing suspension says more about how poorly the organization is currently being run than it does about him as a person.
*Of course, the Flyers failed to sign Nabokov this past offseason but that is because he misjudged the market for himself and thought he could get more money in free agency. Martin Biron did the same thing a few years ago and was banished to the Island as well. Maybe Nabby should have taken a cue from that mistake.