Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Success in Playoffs Rests on Nabby

The San Jose Sharks will go as far as Evgeni Nabokov takes them. As I was eagerly anticipating the Canada vs. Russia game last week, I couldnt help but go back in history and see how Nabby has faired in big games like this. Of course, Nabby's history in these type of games was not good, considering the Sharks have not made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in the 5+ years that they have been contenders. That's not to mention these last 3 years when some have picked them to win the Cup. And that's definitely not to mention that the Sharks lost in a first round upset to the Anaheim Ducks last season after winning the Presidents Cup during the regular season, although a lack of offense contributed to that debacle.
Nabby went on to allow 6 goals in the game against Canada on his way to being pulled mid-way through the game.
But is this a sign of things to be come playoff time for the Sharks? For Sharks fans sake, let's hope not. They've been through enough with this team already.
History would say that Nabby is a choke-artist when it comes to big games like that against Canada, or come playoff time. Yet, Nabby is a fantastic regular season goalie, and that is what keeps up the hope for these San Jose Sharks year in and year out.
We will see how the Olympics affect this Sharks team. We saw a telling tale of how Nabokov reacts to pressure last week. With 7 players who played in Vancouver, will that make them tired come playoff time? Or just keep them from getting rusty. I say the latter.
It seemed like there was a combination of both in the Sharks first game back from the Olympic break. I saw rust from the players who didnt travel to Vancouver, and tired legs early from the players who did. A great game though with New Jersey jumping out to a 4-0 lead only to give up 3 goals in 3 minutes in the 3rd period. But the Sharks lost, and now we ponder if this was another big game lost by Nabby or just a better team altogether.
No matter how you feel the Sharks will fair in this season's playoffs, the first thing that remains to be seen is Nabokov. The Sharks have offense, and I feel with the experience of the Olympics and the acquisition of Dany Heatley this season, it will show up this playoff-around. But it still rests on Nabby. It seems at times nothing gets past him, but at others it seems like he just cant stop a shot.
The Sharks go as far as Nabby goes, and if he doesnt go at all and we see another early round exit for the Sharks, we will see the Sharks looking for a new netminder next season.


  1. Why do you not identify yourself anywhere on this page? It's hard to follow a website when you don't know who is writing the blogs.

  2. Just a Bay Area Sports fan with opinions...

  3. I agree. This is the make or break year for Nabokov. If he struggles in the playoffs and the Sharks are sent home early(again)I think we are looking for a new goalie next season. This team has way too much talent not to be winning CUPS. The perennial monkey on the back is on him and he needs to be THE man and send that primate packing...hopefully to Detroit