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Sorry, Isles: Visnovsky to stick with KHL club (Updated)

Jan 7, 2013, 5:36 PM EDT


New York Islanders defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will remain with Slovan Bratislava for the remainder of the season, 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.”

Update: Bill Daly didn’t give the deal the NHL’s go-ahead in an e-mail to Staple.

“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.”

Meanwhile, the Islanders declined to comment.

How this happened

Visnovsky, traded from Anaheim to New York at June’s NHL Entry Draft, filed a grievance with the league shortly after learning of the deal, claiming his no-trade clause was still in effect.

From the Sporting News:

Visnovsky, while somehow saying that he’d play for the Islanders if the trade went through, maintained that he had a valid no-trade clause that he didn’t invoke when the Ducks acquired him from the Edmonton Oilers in 2010. The arbitrator felt differently.

The issue dates back to 2007 when Visnovsky inked a 5-year extension with the Los Angeles Kings, a contract that included a NTC. He was dealt to the Edmonton Oilers in June 2008, one day before the new contract and no-trade clause were set to kick in. At the 2010 trade deadline, Visnovsky was on the move back to California, this time going to the Ducks.

An arbitrator upheld the trade on Sept. 12.

Five days later, Visnovsky signed with Bratislava.

Despite all this, Visnovsky and his agent, Neil Sheehy, have made several public statements claiming they had no problems with the Islanders organization.

Sheehy re-iterated that to Staple on Monday, saying Visnovsky’s situation “would have been the same with any NHL team.”

What’s next

It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out on a variety of fronts.

The NHL already said its part about the KHL honoring contracts — Visnovsky has one year remaining on his deal — but the other factor will be how the Isles handle the situation.

It could end up being a Tim Thomas/Bruins-like scenario, in which the Bruins hold the option of suspending Thomas without pay, but still absorbing his $5 million cap hit.

Visnovsky’s cap hit for this season is $5.6 million, but he’s only owed $3 million in salary.

  1. quizguy66 - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    A cynical person might say that absorbing the hit will go a decent way towards the Islanders making it above the salary floor.


    • killerpgh - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:58 PM

      The cap floor is 44 million, right? Pretty sure i saw that somewhere. Even without counting Visnovsky’s cap hit the islanders are over 44 million and figure they will add another defenseman to replace him. This is a huge loss to the Islanders if he doesn’t play this season.

      • bcisleman - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:10 PM

        Maybe, maybe not. Maybe a Mayfield, Donovan or Reinhart who wants to play would be of greater value than a veteran who doesn’t.

      • jl9830 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:35 PM

        Reinhart and Mayfield aren’t even close to NHL ready lol

  2. bcisleman - Jan 7, 2013 at 5:53 PM

    I give up on trying to figure out Vis. The Isles’ strategy should be the same as with Nabby: suspend him so that if he wants to return to the NHL, he has to come back to the Isles.

    • elvispocomo - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:10 PM

      Unless it’s changed under the new CBA, they could still toll his contract (what was done with Nabby) so he doesn’t get to burn the last year of his deal. They’re aready at the cap floor for this season, so considering he’s 36 they might want to see if they can get him next year when they only have 12 players signed so far.

      If the season had been cancelled, there wouldn’t have been a choice (and certainly no issue to begin with).

      • bcisleman - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:05 PM

        Yes, I assume that it wouldn’t be handled any differently. There’s certainly no reason for the Isles NOT to suspend and toll. At very least–assuming Vis wants back in the NHL–he would have some trade value. Then again if the Isles have a good abreviated season, he may decide that playing for them is a good thing.

  3. islesjb - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:10 PM

    welp…. Fck this guy

  4. yanks33 - Jan 7, 2013 at 6:23 PM

    The guy just straight up doesnt want to play for the Isle’s….its obvious

    • bcisleman - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      It’s possible…BUT he’s said that it has nothing to do with the Isles. He may have decided he wants to stay in Europe for other reasons or, as has been suggested previously, he may want to only play for Western Conference teams

  5. keepphil - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:38 PM

    He is still a better value than DiPietro.

    • barkar942 - Jan 7, 2013 at 8:49 PM

      Probably will play as many games as DePietro- 0.

  6. deadrabbit79 - Jan 7, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    My biased opinion as an islander fan….Given the choice between playing for the islanders and playing in Russia with their air travel history i would play for the islanders……just saying

    • whatthepuck2012 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:12 AM

      I thank God every day that American planes never crash. Are you stupid?

    • dropkickmurphy915 - Jan 8, 2013 at 10:46 AM

      That’s an ignorant and disrespectful thing to say. Lokomotiv’s plane crashing was a very tragic thing to happen to the sport and the people involved. Die in a fire.

      • timmmah10 - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:19 PM

        This guy is an idiot, but dropkick, you say he is ignorant and disrespectful, then tell him to die in a fire?

        Way to sink to his level.

  7. bcisleman - Jan 7, 2013 at 8:05 PM

    I would suggest that anyone interested in this story follow Arthur Staple on twitter. This is far from over in any sense.

  8. mattyo99 - Jan 7, 2013 at 11:12 PM

    Whatta dick

  9. seals1 - Jan 8, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    Let me get this straight. NHL locks out players and Vis goes home to play PROFESSIONAL hockey near his family. NHL stops paying him so he goes home and gets paid now everyone is mad that he is happy at home. Wake up and smell what you are shoveling. NHL did this, Vis didn’t.

    New Yorkers need to look outside that island you live on and realize life goes on outside your walls. Good for Vis. I’m sure plenty of fans will join him.

    Vis is not a sheep like the rest of you. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa, Islanders Suck

    • jl9830 - Jan 8, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      Amen, except for the Islanders part. The NHL just got back to business after cancelling half a season over nothing, while Visnovsky joined a team back home, and now that the NHL is ready, all of a sudden everyone just has to halt their lives and go at the NHL’s pace? He made a connection with his team and wants to see this season through over there- I can’t really say I blame him too much. This is the NHL’s fault.

      • timmmah10 - Jan 8, 2013 at 1:23 PM

        It’s kind of garbage that the NHL created a deal with the KHL to force their players back… but a contract is a contract.

        I don’t blame either side here, and I think MAKING him come back is probably not going to help the Isles. He’ll be over here tanking games then going back to the motherland for the remainder of his career.

  10. hawkeyplayer - Jan 8, 2013 at 5:55 PM

    this guy.has gone through so much BS.

    don’t blame him at all

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