Evgeni Nabokov was hearing from some of his former teammates that he got a case of "Sharks flu" almost as soon as word got out that an injury forced him to sit out a shootout in Pittsburgh.

But, no, Nabokov said Saturday, he wasn't trying to avoid facing the Sharks. On the contrary, he had been looking forward to it.

"When I came to training camp, I looked at the schedule and put a little dot right there," he said, figuratively marking the date when the New York Islanders would play San Jose.

San Jose did not re-sign Nabokov after losing the Western Conference finals to the Chicago Blackhawks in 2010, but he spoke only glowingly of his time in San Jose.

"It was probably the best 10 years of my life out there, and I don't think it will be replaceable. But we have to move on," said Nabokov, whose family moved to Long Island though it plans to make San Jose the permanent home.

When no NHL teams came calling, Nabokov signed a four-year, $24 million deal to play in Russia, but that experiment ended after 22 games. He signed a one-year contract with the Detroit Red Wings, but the Islanders were able to claim him on waivers.