Lubomir Visnovsky is doing whatever it takes to avoid playing for the New York Islanders.
With the lockout ended, the NHL players are leaving Europe and preparing for the season to finally start, but not Visnovsky. The defenseman has stated that he will remain in the KHL and continue playing with the Slovan Bratislava rather than return to America, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday.
“I have decided to stay and continue my career in the KHL for the remainder of the 2012-13 season,” Visnovsky said in a statement. “I am thankful to the Isles for being so good to me. My decision not to play in the NHL is due to family and personal reasons.
“I have made no decisions on next season. My focus now is on Slovan Bratislava, and enjoying my family in my home country.”
This does violate an agreement between the NHL and the KHL though and the league is well aware of it.
“We have an agreement with the KHL that would preclude Mr. Visnovsky from continuing to play in the KHL once the lockout is officially lifted,” Daly wrote. ” I assume that agreement will be respected.”
This is just the latest incident with Visnovsky who has been determine to avoid playing for the Islanders since the minute they traded for him this offseason. He insisted that the ducks violated a no trade agreement in his contract when they dealt him. The incident eventually went to an arbitration hearing where Visnovsky was ordered to play for the Islanders.
The entire time Visnovsky has insisted that it has nothing to do with the Islanders personally, but it seems a little bit obvious he’s pulling a Evgeni Nabokov and just doesn’t want to play here.
For their part, the Islanders have been pretty quiet but they can’t be too happy about things. Even without his salary they are at $44.615 million which is above the cap floor of $44 million so it isn’t about that. Visnovsky is a good player on a team thin at the blue line. On top of that they gave up a second-round pick to get him and they certainly don’t want to see that wasted.
The Islanders will likely take the same strategy as they did with Nabokov and suspend him. That way they retain his rights if he wants to return to the NHL next year. It seems like the league will stand behind the Islanders and help to make sure that the KHL holds up their end of the bargain.
If Visnovsky follows through and doesn’t play in the NHL this season the Islanders will likely need to address the situation by signing another defenseman. Early rumors were that they wouldn’t add another player, but with the blue line already thin they may not be able to avoid it.