Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Latest Visnovsky brouhaha
By Victoria Matiash
UPDATE: Finally, some clarity.
According to Lubomir Visnovsky's agent, Neil Sheehy, the veteran defenseman looks forward to joining the New York Islanders after attending to "personal reasons" at home in Slovakia. Meanwhile, Matias Strocyk relays the latest from Visnovsky himself:
"... I still can't fly, need to stay for at least 2 wks. My son has health issues. Nothing serious, but recovery will take a while ... I've asked permission to play for Slovan for the next 2 weeks. If I don't get it, I'll just practice in Bratislava ..."
Unless we hear otherwise, Visnovsky is expected back in North America in early February.
UPDATE: In terms of respecting one another's contracts, the KHL appears to be keeping up its end of the bargain with the NHL.
According to Dmitry Chesnokov, the KHL won't let Lubomir Visnovsky play for Slovan Bratislava for the remainder of the season. And reps from both leagues will meet "to figure out a solution".
Meanwhile, Newsday's Arthur Staple reports Visnovsky is tending to a "personal issue" in Slovakia, which may take two to three weeks to resolve. And the veteran defenseman could reports to the New York Islanders after that point.
UPDATE: Defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky didn't bother to take the flight booked on his behalf by the New York Islanders. In fact, Czech play-by-play announcer Roman Jedlicka reports Visnovsky is travelling with his KHL squad to face it's next opponent.
"... Visnovsky is on his way - not to NHL - but to Prague to play tmrw for Slovan Bratislava in KHL. Yes, he is on the bus ..."
The New York Islanders will have no choice but to suspend Visnovsky shortly. Then, presumably, the KHL will step in and rule the D-man ineligible for HC Slovan Bratislava.
Otherwise, this situation will get a whole lot more crazy.
UPDATE: So much for expecting a professional/adult reaction from Lubomir Visnovsky.
As reported by Newsday's Arthur Staple, the 36-year-old intends to remain in Slovakia for the rest of the season.
"I have decided to stay and continue my career in the KHL for the remainder of the 2012-13 season. I am thankful to the New York Islanders 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 HC Slovan Bratislava, and enjoying my family in my home country."
There's no way the Islanders will tolerate this course of action without raising a huge stink -- and justifiably so. Plus the NHL won't put up with such shenanigans either.
"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," deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. "I assume that agreement will be respected."
The relationship between Lubomir Visnovsky and the New York Islanders is taking yet another dramatic turn. Now it seems the veteran defenseman doesn't want to leave his hometown gig in Slovakia.
As relayed by IslandersPointBlank, Visnovsky told sport.sme.sk he's considering an offer to stick with HC Slovan Bratislava for the duration of 2012-13.
"I got an offer to stay until the end of the season in Slovan. Consider buying it and do not know how I should answer it. Yet I have to deal with my agent and overseas employers. Very strongly about it I think. While I see if it's possible. Do not want to do Islanders anything behind your back. discuss and we'll see how it goes," Visnovsky reportedly said, via Google Translate.
Probably not going to happen. The 36-year-old defenseman has just the one year ($5.6 million/cap hit: $3 million) remaining on his current contract. We can't see him -- a mature adult of sorts -- opting to recklessly ditch that professional obligation, especially once he speaks with his North American agent. Plus, the NHL and KHL have an agreement in place, respecting the other's contracts. All heck would break loose if Visnovsky is allowed to stay, while engaged with the Islanders. And for what? Less than four months of hockey? Not likely.