Evgeni Nabokov's Last games with the Sharks?

You wonder on every goal he allows. You wonder on every save he makes. You wonder on every breath Evgeni Nabokov takes.

OK, so that last line might be a Russian song lyric. But you wonder — no, you realize — that Nabokov’s lasting legacy with the Sharks is being defined right here in these Western Conference finals.

So far, it is not going well. Not well enough, at least.

He can’t give up four goals on home ice as he did Tuesday night, allowing the Chicago Blackhawks to flee home with a 2-0 series lead. He didn’t do it alone. The stunned Sharks collectively fell 4-2 in Game 2.

If the Sharks can’t win Friday or Sunday in Chicago, Nabokov may have just played his final game at HP Pavilion. His contract is up at season’s end, or, rather, at postseason’s end, which is coming on quick.

How many more games will he play in that menacing Sharks helmet? Will his final game end this season in heroic fashion with a Stanley Cup or in a familiar sad handshake at the end of a receiving line?

“Obviously it’s not good enough,” Nabokov said of his play.

Nabokov , 34, has had a strong postseason. Blackhawks counterpart Antti Niemi, 26, is having a better one at the moment, stealing this stage in his inaugural playoffs.

Nabokov should have seized this series on his home ice, before a beloved fan base that cheers for him more than any of his teammates in pregame intros. Instead, we’ve seen Niemi -mania.

supporting cast has been stellar. His defensemen are frustrating the Sharks forwards. His own forwards are causing havoc at the other end of the ice in front of Nabokov.

“He’s made some good saves,” Sharks forward Joe Pavelski said of Niemi. “But at the same time, his defense has helped him out well. They’re playing sound defense and collapsing at times.”

The Sharks’ overall collapse went like this Tuesday: Nabokov yields three goals before the night is half over, the Blackhawks’ fourth goal is sandwiched between two by Patrick Marleau , and a last-minute scuffle concludes the festivities.

“They’re a young, fast team and they go to the net,” Nabokov said. “It seems they get a lot of pucks deflected. We’ve got to do the same to them.”


4 Responses to Evgeni Nabokov's Last games with the Sharks?

  1. number15 says:

    unless the Sharks have a clear mind on a replacement, they should not let Nabokov go….. They wont have the money to lure in a top FA, so basically they will need to trade for a proven goalie

    …… it must be a proven goalie considering they r a win now type of team.


    though if they let Nabokov go, they might have a shot at keeping Marleau….. pretty risky without a goalie, never the less

  2. leafit2me says:

    I'm going to put my neck out there and say that if the Sharks don't make it to the Stanley Cup finals (forget winning it) they let Marleau and Nabokov walk. 

    They re-sign Setoguchi and Pavelski. Rob Blake may be back, or maybe they go after a Gonchar, Kubina (TBL connection w/ Boyle), Johnsson, Martin, or Mitchell.
    Not sure who they target to replace Marleau. Kovalchuk perhaps or use that money to sign 2 top 6 wingers to match the kind of depth the Chicago seems to have this year.
    Goaltending-wise there is Ellis, Turco, Price, Nittimaki, Leighton and Schneider will be among those considered.
  3. Kill_Yourself says:

    Nabokov will be a shark next year. He was fantasic last playoffs this one not so much maybe hes getting a little long in the tooth. Sharks should be looking for a young goalie prospect which will eventually take over the job. Anaheim, chicago, boston ring any bells?

    also i didnt actually read the article.

  4. HABSSTAR says:

    Maybe the Sharks should just admit that they have a team that just isn't capable of getting it done.  One would have to figure that if this team was going to win a cup they would have by now. 

    Keep Pavelski, trade the rest.  It's over, and as soon as they accept it and start the rebuild the sooner they'll be a contender again.

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