I've remained quiet recently in regards to my opinion on the choice Evgeni Nabokov made with the New York Islanders. I did make one comment on the message board in response to the following quote that Nabokov made:
"It's nothing against the Islanders and their organization. It's nothing to do with that. It's just that I'm at the point in my career where I want to help a team win in the playoffs. I don't see how I could help the Islanders or what I could do for them. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me and I hope they understand that."
- Evgeni Nabokov
My thoughts on this comment initially were that I knew some goalie, some where in the minor leagues or Europe thought that they CAN help the Islanders and would appreciate any opportunity.
With all the focus on the Nabokov situation the Islanders found a goalie they thought might be able to help: Al Montoya. They traded a sixth round pick to the Coyotes organization for Montoya who is a former sixth overall draft pick.
He came to the organization with just four NHL games on his resume and the label of first round bust. On Saturday night he back stopped the surging Isles to a 3-0 shutout win over the Kings. This prompted me to go through a few articles written recently about Montoya.
While Nabokov wanted nothing to do with the Islanders and expressed his disappointment by being picked up by them, Montoya felt the opposite way:
"To tell you the truth, I was excited," Montoya said. "This is unbelievable. This is an opportunity that I've been waiting for however many years I've been pro … six years? I've had a couple of injuries that set me back a couple of years, but at the same time, I'm excited. I knew I'd get a chance here."
It's frustrating how hockey has changed so much over time into a business. I think about how the players in the 50's and 60's didn't make much money and needed jobs in the summer to support their families. Players played because they loved to play.
I think about my own personal life and how playing hockey is not a big part of it anymore. It's not because I don't love it, I just have other priorities in my life such as a career and a future in mind. I can't forget to mention that I had to stop playing ALL SPORTS for over a year to let my left knee/foot heal. Is the passion gone? No, I would gladly take a jersey and a spot on even the worst team if it meant getting back on the ice again.
It pains me to think of all the people out their who dream of playing in the NHL and will never even come close. I think about all the young kids who look up to NHL players and copy there actions. To think of what Nabokov said in regards to hockey and playing for the Islanders disgusts me.
I really like to see a player find success in the NHL after being buried in the minors for so long. I'm rooting for Montoya and I hope he can find the success in the NHL. I'll leave you with my favourite quote from the article I read:
"This is a good situation for me. I'm going to take full advantage of this and I thank this organization for giving me that chance. I'm still young. I still feel good and I'm still learning to this day. It's time to run with it."