Lubomir Visnovsky will reportedly not be among the horde of NHL players returning from Europe this week ahead of training camps.
According to a report from Newsday, the Islanders defenceman has decided to stay in Slovakia for the remainder of the season.
Visnovsky released a statement through his agent Neil Sheehy:
“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 Slovan Bratislava, and enjoying my family in my home country.”
Newsday also reported Sheehy reiterated his clients's claim that his decision had nothing to do with the Islanders.
“The situation would have been the same with any NHL team.”
However, TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie tweeted: "NHL says it's been assured KHL won't let players with valid NHL deals play in KHL. Guess that "assurance" will be put to test. #visnovsky"
Visnovsky made headlines last off-season when he filed a grievance through the NHLPA trying to void his trade from the Anaheim Ducks to the Islanders. The trade was eventually upheld.
In 31 games with Bratislava Slovan of the KHL this year, Visnovsky has six goals and 14 points. The 36-year-old had 27 points in 68 games with the Ducks last year.