Evgeni Nabokov

Evgeni Nabokov’s agent says he won’t report to New York Islanders

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The New York Islanders made an interesting, potentially shrewd move to snatch goalie Evgeni Nabokov off of the waive wire today but the Russian netminder’s agent Don Meehan says he won’t report to Long Island.

Obviously, going from being signed by Stanley Cup contender Detroit to the Long Island cellar dwellers is a considerable drop in prestige. Still, if the two sides don’t find a way to work something out – even if it’s just a thinly veiled way for the Isles to try to squeeze something out of a team looking to nab Nabby – then the Russian goalie will be forced to sit out the rest of the 2010-11 season.

Meehan stated earlier in the proceedings that the goalie would play for whichever team signed him because he wanted to treat the rest of this season as “an audition” but perhaps Nabokov views joining the Islanders as the equivalent to signing on for a lead role in that disastrous Spider Man play.

Katie Strang caught up with Islanders GM Garth Snow on the subject, who offered this response.

Snow wouldn’t discuss his plans if Nabokov doesn’t report: We will cross that bridge when we get there. To me that’s not an issue right now.

It’s doubtful that floundering in the KHL and then refusing to play for a rebuilding NHL team will increase Nabokov’s profile either, but much like Snow, we’ll have to wait and see how this one plays out.

Report: Kings, Richards nearing settlement

Mike Richards
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The Los Angeles Kings and Mike Richards may be nearing a settlement in their dispute over Richards’ terminated contract, TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting.

You can read the report for all the details, but we’re sure curious about this part:

If a settlement is reached, there’s no word yet on what salary cap penalties the Kings would still face. There’s bound to be something, but not likely as onerous as the full value of Richards’ contract, which carries with it a cap hit of $5.75 million. If there’s a settlement, Richards would undoubtedly become a free agent though there’s no telling at this point what monies he would be entitled to from the Kings in a settlement.

The issue here is precedent, and what this case could set. The NHL and NHLPA can’t allow teams to escape onerous contracts through a back door, and many are adamant that that’s what the Kings were attempting to do in Richards’ case.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
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The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?