Islanders are expected to let Nabokov walk


When the New York Islanders began their relationship with goalie Evgeni Nabokov, he tried his best not to play for the team. Now it sounds like the shoe is on the other foot.

New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple reports that the 37-year-old will probably be allowed to hit the free agent market on July 5, even though the Russian netminder now seems to embrace Long Island.

“We couldn’t find the middle ground right now but I never close the door on anything,” Nabokov said. “That’s where we’re at. I’m still hopeful something will get done.”

Nabokov was a workhorse for the Islanders in 2013, playing in 41 regular season games and six postseason contests. His numbers were lousy in the playoffs (4.44 GAA, .842 save percentage), but he provided solid reliability during the season (2.50 GAA, .910 save percentage).

He could end up being one of the more interesting free agent cases to follow, as his name recognition might help him land a starting gig while his age and other factors may force him to settle for a backup job – among other possibilities.

Dropping like flies: Johnson, Killorn hurt in Bolts’ exhibition

Montreal Canadiens v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game One
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You probably know the drill: injury updates are murky in the NHL basically from the moment a puck drops.

We’ll learn more once the 2015-16 season begins, but at the moment, Saturday might have served as a costly night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn went down with injuries stemming from a 3-2 pre-season win against the Florida Panthers.

“Guys were dropping like flies,” Steven Stamkos told the Tamba Bay Times.

These could be minor situations – just about any ailment will sideline a key asset this time of year – yet one cannot help but wonder if the Lightning might limp into this campaign.

Nikita Kucherov is dealing with his own issues, so that means at least minor issues for one half of the Bolts’ top six forwards.

It’s believed that more will be known about these banged-up Bolts sometime on Sunday.

Raffi Torres gets match penalty for being Raffi Torres

Raffi Torres

With knee issues still limiting him, Raffi Torres isn’t as mobile as he once was. Apparently he still moves well enough to leave the usual path of destruction.

It’s the pre-season, so it’s unclear if we’ll get a good look at the check, but Torres received a match penalty for his hit on Anaheim Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Most accounts were pretty critical of the San Jose Sharks’ chief troublemaker:

It’s too early to tell if Silfverberg is injured. If he is, that’s a significant loss for the Ducks, as he really showed signs of fulfilling his promise (especially during the 2015 playoffs).

As far as Torres goes, he’s hoping to play in the Sharks’ season-opener. Wherever he ends up, he’ll certainly make plenty of enemies on the ice.

Whether it was because of that hit or just the general distaste shared by those sides, it sounds like tonight’s Sharks – Ducks exhibition is getting ugly, in general:

This post will be updated if video of the hit becomes available, and also if we get a better idea of Silfverberg’s condition.

Update: Bullet dodged?