UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Suspended goalie Evgeni Nabokov said he will go to training camp with the New York Islanders, Newsday reported on its website on Monday night.
“Yes, I do plan on attending,” Nabokov said Monday. “Now I will have full preparation for the season.”
Nabokov did not report to the Islanders in January after he was claimed off waivers from the Detroit Red Wings by New York, which suspended the veteran goalie.
Nabokov said that people speculated that he didn’t want to report to the Islanders, who struggled last season in the Eastern Conference. He said he hadn’t skated for six weeks when he was claimed and needed three to four weeks to get ready.
“Any time you go to a new group, you want to be welcomed,” Nabokov said. “I’m not sure everyone understands the situation. Players can play five, 10 minutes a night, but goalies have to play the whole game. I wasn’t ready and the situation wasn’t right. I wish we had better communication between the Islanders and me, but it was a tough decision for me that I couldn’t help.”
Nabokov, who played with the San Jose Sharks for parts of 10 seasons, had spent last season with SKA St. Petersburg of the Russian KHL.
He signed a one-year contract with Detroit, but had to clear waivers.
The NHL’s collective bargaining agreement states that anyone who plays in a professional league before signing an NHL contract must clear waivers.
Once he signed his one-year deal with the Red Wings, he became available to the Islanders.