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|8 ноября 2008 года.
For Sharks' Nabokov, things could be worse // San Jose Mercury News
An injury to All-Star goalie Evgeni Nabokov on the final play of the Sharks' shootout victory over St. Louis on Thursday appears to be less serious than originally feared.
Nabokov's absence for any great length would have been the first real hard rain to fall on the Sharks' 12-2 season to this point. But now, what little the team is saying indicates this might be only a minor sprinkle.
"The news was a lot more positive than we thought it would be yesterday," Sharks Coach Todd McLellan said Friday morning. "From what I understand, it's not nearly as concerning as it was last night."
Officially, the team described Nabokov as day to day with a lower-body injury, and under the NHL's non-disclosure policy adopted this season, that's all they have to spell out.
So although it may have looked to the 17,496 witnesses inside HP Pavilion that Nabokov injured his left knee as he made the final save of the shootout to beat the Blues 5-4, the team is not required to elaborate.
Team doctors and trainers examined Nabokov immediately after the game and again Friday morning. That's when McLellan and others breathed at least a small sigh of relief.
McLellan also ruled out the need for any surgical procedure -- "That hasn't even been discussed one bit" -- but he wouldn't estimate when Nabokov might play his next game.
"I'd be looking into a crystal ball to do that," McLellan said.
For now, however, back-up goalie Brian Boucher is a safe bet to be in net at home tonight against the Dallas Stars and Sunday night on the road against the Phoenix Coyotes. Boucher has shutouts against Los Angeles and Tampa Bay in his two starts this season.
Nabokov was injured making the final save against St. Louis in a victory that kept the Sharks unbeaten in eight home games.
After extending his left leg to cut down the angle on Blues center Patrik Berglund, Nabokov stayed down on the ice, belly first, for several seconds.
He eventually took a few short strides on his own, then was helped off the ice by trainer Ray Tufts. At that point he had his weight on his right skate only.
Boucher said he's ready for what lies ahead.
"We all want to play," Boucher said. "We're all competitors, and certainly I accept my role on this team as the backup goaltender and do whatever I have to do in that role. But when you get a chance to play, it's a great opportunity and it's something you want to be a part of. I don't want to be here for a free ride."
Boucher gets his next test against Dallas, a longtime Pacific Division rival and the team that eliminated the Sharks from the playoffs May 2 in a four-overtime thriller. Players minimized any carryover there might be when the teams meet for the first time since that series.
"Sure, you have memories of it, but it's a new season," center Joe Thornton said. "You've got a new team, they've got a new team. You don't think about it."
While the Sharks have gotten off to their best start in franchise history, the Stars have stumbled at 4-6-2-0.
Their biggest free-agent signing of the summer was the NHL's premier agitator, Sean Avery, and his presence coupled with Steve Ott, who had that same role on the Stars last year, has created friction within the locker room.
"It's idiotic, stupid," Stars veteran Mike Modano said after things got out of hand in a 5-1 loss to Boston last Saturday. "It's one of the most embarrassing things I've seen -- on the ice (getting) involved with the fans. In 20 years, I've never seen anything like it. If that's what we're going for here then I need to find me an office job."