The drama between the New York Islanders and Lubomir Visnovsky continues.
The team announced Friday that it has officially suspended the 36-year-old veteran defenseman. Despite conflicting reports whether he would return from Russia to fulfill his contractual obligation with the Islanders, he has not yet arrived for training camp.
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Visnovsky, acquired in June from Anaheim, attempted to have the trade overruled but an arbitrator ruled in December that the deal was valid.
The Islanders open the season Saturday at home against the New Jersey Devils.
Visnovsky has tried to remain with his European club, Slovan Bratislava, in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, despite a rule prohibiting that. The NHL and KHL have a memorandum of agreement that any player with an NHL contract must return to his club once the lockout is lifted.
The KHL is complying and won’t let Visnovsky play in Russia now that the lockout has ended.
The suspension was done in order for the Islanders to officially get down to the 23-man roster needed for opening night.
Visnovsky scored six goals and had 27 points — 10 on the power play — in 68 games with the Ducks last season.
In 771 games over 11 NHL seasons with Los Angeles, Edmonton and Anaheim, Visnovsky has 117 goals and 450 points. He was an All-Star in 2007.
The Islanders also announced on Friday that they claimed defenseman Brian Strait off waivers from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Strait has played in 12 NHL games with the Penguins, notching one assist and four penalty minutes.
Pittsburgh chose him with the 65th pick (third round) of the 2006 draft, but the 25-year-old native of Boston has spent most of his time in the minors. Strait has eight goals and 32 assists in 220 career AHL games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.