In a lengthy interview with Slovakian sports site sport.sk -- accompanied by him in an Islanders practice jersey -- Lubomir Visnovsky has revealed he's coming to Long Island -- and earlier than many expected based on the last published reports.
According to the interview, he has his ticket -- of course the Isles sent him a ticket once before -- and intends to depart Slovakia on Wednesday. Previously, Visnovsky intended to wait for his son's surgery, reported to be Feb. 9, before returning to North America.
Now with the NHL and KHL keeping him from playing further for Slovan Bratislava, it appears he and his family have had a change of heart. With the help of Google Translate:
Did you solve your son's health situation?
Unfortunately no. Surgery is still Feb. 9. The doctors, my wife, and I decided I do not need to stay. ... I can't play for Slovan anyway, so it is wasted time and I want to play for him.
When asked if he'll move his family or have them stay in Slovakia, he said:
"The club is helping me with housing ... so we'll see how it develops further."
Why is it so disappointing to leave?
"First of all I would like to help you guys [Slovan] ... and once again experience the atmosphere that prevails here during home games. I also, after a three-week break, the game at least a bit before entering the NHL hot. But as I said, the Islanders would not let me, so I live very disappointing."
On the reception he expects:
"I think it will not be easy. The fans certainly are not thrilled, but I know what I'm doing and what I caused. On the other hand it must be said that even they do not see the family situation I was placed in. Certainly there will be some meetings with the media, where they'll try to explain it and I hope that they understand. The owner of the club told me that he would do the same; it is paramount my family knows I be the first to protect my family."
It's a new environment. On whom will Lubo rely?
"I do not know anyone there, but I'm no newbie, I know how to go there, so in this respect I do not anticipate any problems."
Finally, the publication noted that the Islanders have had a great start...
"I sincerely hope that I will not spoil it, that I quickly fit into the game and we will continue to pursue a good performance. It would be great to advance to the playoffs."
If Visnovsky joins the team and comes off suspension in the next week or so, the Islanders will have some roster moves to make. Josh Bailey is also inching toward a return, so barring further injuries, someone will be hitting waivers.
The Islanders powerplay has been hot without Visnovsky, but by the time he is in uniform and fit for action it's likely to have regressed some -- which will provide some cover for making an alteration or two, no doubt.