Islanders Double Up on Grabovski and Kulemin

The New York Islanders pulled the biggest surprise on the second day of NHL free agency by signing two players that no one expected them to. Wednesday afternoon saw the Isles announce the acquisition of Nikolai Kulemin and Mikhail Grabovski as both signed four-year contracts. Kulemin who had spent his entire six year career with Toronto will earn $16.75 million over the course of his contract while his former Leafs teammate will earn $20 million.
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Lightning Nab Evgeni For One Year

Yesterday’s NHL free agent frenzy saw just one comrade ink a new deal, as 38-year-old netminder Evgeni Nabokov signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning. After returning from a stint in the KHL, the veteran keeper spent the past three seasons manning the Islanders crease where he posted a record of 57-43-18.
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Comrade of the Night-Evgeni Malkin

Thursday night saw five different Russian NHL’ers light the lamp for their respective teams. While they were all important to the teams involved, one players performance stood slightly higher than the rest. Heading into Thursday’s match-up against the Rangers, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins were coming off an embarrassing loss at the hands of the Islanders in the ever competitive Atlantic Division. Just 1:27 into the game, Simon Despres found Malkin with a pass near the far right circle which the 26-year-old center rocketed past Henrik Lundqvist’s 5-hole.
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Farjestad is Swedish for Shawinigan

(Courtesy of Sportsnet.ca)

All day Friday the hockey newspapers reported Kirill Kabanov was heading to play in Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League (SEL).  After weeks of figuring out what his next step in his career would be, Kabanov contemplated the idea of going to Sweden/QMJHL after not making the New York Islanders squad.  And (as would be expected) reports questioned Kabanov’s commitment to a career in the pros.  His rights were held by the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada – formerly the Montreal Juniors – when they selected him in a dispersal draft.  The Armada were pegged to be bottom-feeders in the QMJHL this season, a position Kabanov did not see fit for his development.  Not to mention, playing against men in the SEL as opposed to kids in the QMJHL would be better developmentally, wouldn’t you think?  Read more…

Nabokov Shows Commitment to Isles with New Mask

(courtesy of Ingoalmag.com)

The 2010-2011 season for Evgeni Nabokov was a disaster of epic proportions. Having signed a four-year $24 million contract with SKA St.Petersburg of the KHL before quitting just months later, Nabokov appeared headed back to the NHL. He was on the cusp of joining the Detroit Red Wings before he was scooped up by the goalie-happy New York Islanders.
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Islanders Set to Keep Nabby for Next Season

According to a New York’s Newsday, the New York Islanders are planning to retain the rights to goaltender Evgeni Nabokov for the 2011-2012 season. Nabokov was picked off waivers by the team after signing a one-year deal with the Detroit Red Wings but since the collective bargaining agreement calls for players signing a NHL-level contract to enter waivers Nabokov ended up in Long Island. However the newest Islander never donned an Islanders jersey opting to hold out in hopes he would be freed from his contract this coming off-season.
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(Updated Again) Despite Signing with Wings, Nabokov Claimed by Islanders


(UPDATE Again) The Islanders have since suspended Nabokov for not reporting to the team. There have been reports of the goalie actually hanging up on GM Garth Snow having mistook him for a media outliet before having his agent return his call for him. Owner Charles Wang has also attempted to reach the netminder to no avail. So as this stalemate stands the Islanders can appeal to have Nabokov suspended through next season so stay tuned to the newest debacle on Long Island.
(UPDATE): Just a few hours after being claimed by the Islanders, word got around that Nabokov would not report to the Islanders. This could determine any future Nabby plans on having in the NHL if he doesn’t change his mind. New York is not obligated to do anything and this could just be a stalemate for both parties. It’s clear they intended for having him with the team but it appears Nabokov envisioned playing for a contender when he left the KHL last month.
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Zharkov’s First Shows Hope Is Not Lost For Surging Devils

With not much to hang their hats on this season, the New Jersey Devils need to look to the future to get back to their winning ways. Coming into the season, the team was looking like a Stanley Cup contender with veteran goalie, Martin Brodeur, between the pipes, a newly signed scoring winger in Ilya Kovalchuk, and an already established “face of the franchise” in Zach Parise.  

However, in the first 4 months of the season, the team has not met any of the expectations that were placed on them. Parise went down early with an injury, Brodeur was not playing like his normal “1990′s”-self, and Kovalchuk, a six time 40 goal scorer has a measly 12 goals and 25 points.
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Kaspar to Coach, Gonchar to Stay, Volchenkov to Go?

darius_kasparaitis_px600

A relatively busy day in the realm of Russian hockey this Monday afternoon when it comes to defensemen as newsworthy headlines have appeared throughout today’s blogosphere. The biggest is of former NHL player Darius Kasparaitis retiring from his KHL club SKA St. Petersburg in order to become an assistant coach with the team he spent his last playing days with.
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Vladimir Zharkov Makes NHL Debut with Devils

i(Courtesy of Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

On Saturday afternoon the New Jersey Devils defeated the New York Islanders with a score of 6-1 at Prudential Center. Making his NHL debut for the Devils was 6’1 winger Vladimir Zharkov. Already nicknamed Sharky the 21-year-old Elektrostal native registered five shots on goal in 14 minutes of ice-time.

Zharkov was called up from the AHL due to the team’s loss of David Clarkson who broke his right leg a few days ago. Zharkov impressed teammates and head coach Jacques Lemaire who expects the Russian to “be a player” and this could be a sign of things to come for the Devils newest call-up.