Apparently there were rumors that Evgeni Nabokov may go back to Russia. Those rumors were news to me, and apparently news to Nabokov as well. During an interview with R-Sport the 38-year-old netminder was asked about the rumors that he could return to Russia to play hockey.
“Did someone seriously write this? I have never heard of this until now,” Nabokov said in response. “To be honest, I have never even considered the possibility of returning. These rumors are mere gossip. In addition to the Islanders, I have other options in the NHL; but, after signing of a new contract, it is pointless to speak about this.”
Nabokov was later asked if he could return to the KHL in the near future.
“Do you think, given that I went back to the NHL for family reasons, after just two years I would seriously talk about returning to Russia? My family has not changed,” he responded. “No, at this time, I do not see myself in the KHL. What the future holds, I don’t know.”
The Russian goaltender was a big part of the Islanders playoff run last season and went 23-11-7 in 41 starts. Despite the strong showing last season, Nabokov knows this season will be even more challenging to make the playoffs.
“We fulfilled one of our tasks—we made it to the playoffs,” he said. “The Islanders took a great step forward. However, now we are facing greater challenges, and it will be much more difficult to take the next step. We will have to make the playoffs again, but the tasks will be very different this time. I think that this season will be much more difficult for us than the previous one.”