Evgeni Nabokov sticking with decision

Updated: January 23, 2011, 7:43 PM ET
By Pierre LeBrun | ESPN.com

Evgeni Nabokov hasn't changed his mind about not reporting to the New York Islanders, the veteran goalie said Sunday.

"I think I'm going to stay home for now, I'm sticking with my decision," Nabokov told ESPN.com from his home in San Jose, Calif. "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 playoffs. 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."

Nabokov 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.

--Evgeni Nabokov

The Islanders claimed Nabokov off waivers on Saturday from the Detroit Red Wings, the team that he signed with Thursday. Because he began the season in Russia's KHL, the rules required that he clear waivers before trying to join the Red Wings.

"I understand the rules," said Nabokov, who signed a one-year, $570,000 deal with the Wings. "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."

On Saturday, Islanders general manager Garth Snow told ESPN.com that he wanted to talk to Nabokov before deciding his next move and said he had left Nabokov a message to call him.

"I want to clear something up," Nabokov said. "Everybody wrote that Garth Snow left me messages. I have no messages on my phone from him. I didn't talk to him. So I want to clear that up. He may have tried to reach me but there's no message from him. I still haven't talked to him."

Reached via text message Sunday, Snow told ESPN.com things were "status quo."

Snow said when he identified himself on the phone, Nabokov immediately hung up, The Associated Press reported.

Snow finally talked to Nabokov on Sunday and was told that Nabokov didn't realize whom he was speaking to when abruptly ending the call.

So what now?

The Islanders can suspend Nabokov for not reporting. They can also put him back on waivers with the intention of trying to trade him, although it's highly doubtful he would clear waivers before a trade could be done. Nabokov also has a no-movement clause.

"I don't know what's going to happen," Nabokov said. "I just hope they will understand where I'm coming from. That's all."

"It's something that we're going to talk about probably a little bit later in the day," Snow said. "He had his heart set on going to Detroit, obviously. I told him I respect that, but he's a New York Islander now and we'd love to have him part of our group."

Nabokov said he hasn't skated in a while and needs time to get ready.

"Detroit was willing to give me that time," said Nabokov. "I'm not sure if other teams would be ready to give me that time. So that's why I made my decision. Detroit was willing to wait while I got ready. With the Islanders, if I went there, I would need a week or two to get ready and then the season would almost be over."

So for now, he doesn't plan on reporting to the Islanders.

"Right now, that's right," Nabokov said. "I was surprised they picked me up. I was like, 'Wow, what's the point?'''

Pierre LeBrun covers the NHL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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