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сентября 2001 года
Nabokov eager to take step forward // "Contra Costa Times"
By Ann Tatko
SAN JOSE -- Evgeni Nabokov doesn't like to lose.
Preseason, regular season, postseason, even a pickup game, it doesn't
matter where he's playing. As long as he's in the net, the Sharks goalie
is set on only one objective -- winning.
But in Nabokov's case, everything about hockey always comes back to
Nabokov sits in the one position not shrouded in question: He's definitely the starter. He's played with the same tenacity that earned him last year's Calder Memorial Trophy, given to the league's top rookie. But ...
"We've lost three games," Nabokov said. "I guess it's better now than during the season."
He leaned forward, his expression suddenly very serious, his voice softer yet still distinctly clear, even with his Russian accent. "They're still losses," he said. "And I don't like to lose."
Need more proof of that? Just look at last year's numbers.
He was 11th in the league for wins with 32. He was sixth in goals-against
average with 2.19, a franchise single-season record. In 57 of 63 starts,
he held opponents to three goals or less.
"For a goalie to win the Calder -- that's tough. It doesn't happen often," Sharks coach Darryl Sutter said. "Nabby is totally focused. It's not just that he wants to be a good, young goalie. He wants to belong to the group of select guys who are the best."
Taking a step toward that status means delivering the wins this season and proving that last year was no fluke.
Nabokov is in a good position to do that, in part because of a back injury sustained in Game 3 against St. Louis in the first round of the playoffs last year. The injury put fellow rookie Miikka Kiprusoff in the net for a big game -- and a big win -- in Game 4.
Now, Nabokov returns with his back completely healed and a proven backup who can spell him throughout the season.
"In one way, I feel confident. In the other way, I feel pressure to have the same year or better," Nabokov said.
The trick is finding balance, much the way he does in every game situation.
"You have to stay calm. That's the most important part between winning and losing," Nabokov said. "When you win, you can't get too high. When you lose, you can't get too low."
The reason? That's simple as far as Nabokov's concerned.
"So you can focus on just winning."
Nabokov's soundness of technique should help him avoid pitfalls
BY VICTOR CHI
When Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov captured the Calder Trophy last season as the NHL's rookie of the year, he joined an elite fraternity.
Since the NHL expanded beyond the Original Six franchises in 1967, there had been just five goalies to claim the Calder. Four of them -- Ken Dryden, Tom Barrasso, Ed Belfour and Martin Brodeur -- have each won at least one Stanley Cup. The other -- Tony Esposito -- is in the Hall of Fame.
So based on that slice of history, Nabokov's future appears golden as he enters his second full NHL season.
History, though, also offers caveats as well with names such as Jim Carey, Brian Boucher and Patrick Lalime. Like Nabokov, they roared on to the scene, but they failed to sustain their initial burst. Carey is the most egregious example.
In 1994, Carey finished second in the Calder voting behind Colorado center Peter Forsberg. In 1996, NHL general managers voted Carey the winner of the Vezina Trophy for best goalie. In 1998, Carey lost his job with the Boston Bruins and was back in the minors. In 2000, Carey sat at home after not being invited to any NHL training camp.
So what accounts for someone such as Carey, who goes from Vezina to vapor in less than three years?
``Because technically they're not good enough,'' Sharks Coach Darryl
Sutter said. ``It's like a pitcher's first time around the league. The
second time, everyone knows what's going on.''
``It gets me mentally and physically ready,'' said Nabokov, who added that he is completely healed from the back injury that kept him out of two playoff games. ``The most important thing is getting your technique back from a three-month break. I love the camp.''
And the Sharks love what Strelow has been able to do with Nabokov, his backup Miikka Kiprusoff and all the goalies in the team's system. Strelow's constant tutelage and Kiprusoff's rapid development should prevent Nabokov from becoming complacent, another downfall of hotshot youngsters. As he proved in the playoffs, Kiprusoff is ready to challenge.
``Nabby gets the attention,'' Sutter said, ``but somebody is knocking
on the door, believe me.''
``Well, he didn't have a complete year like Nabby had,'' Sharks General Manager Dean Lombardi said of Boucher.
Boucher had replaced veteran John Vanbiesbrouck as No. 1 goalie late in the 1999-2000 season before continuing his hot streak in the playoffs. Nabokov became the Sharks' No. 1 in the second game of the season after Steve Shields hurt his ankle. With a brilliant October, Nabokov commandeered the top job.
``Nabby was building his resume the whole year,'' Lombardi said. ``That's a little longer evaluation period. And then you follow it up with what he did this summer. He was the first one at Warren's camp.''
And Strelow said his attention to detail and focus was never better.
After Shields' injury, Nabokov went 10-1-2 in his first 13 starts. In 1996-97 while playing for Pittsburgh, Lalime set the NHL record for longest unbeaten streak by a rookie goalie to begin his career by going 14-0-2. But Lalime spent the next two seasons in the minors while being traded twice before re-establishing himself with Ottawa in 1999-2000.
If there are concerns about how Nabokov will handle himself after enjoying success last season, the Sharks aren't showing it.
``Nobody talks to me about it,'' Nabokov said. ``It's no different than last year. Obviously there's going to be more pressure than ever but it's a challenge, and that's why we are all here, to meet the challenge.''
And the short-term challenge, although it might not have been phrased this way to him, is not to become the next Jim Carey.
``The reason why I feel confident he won't is because of the foundation
he has,'' Lombardi said. ``It's the way he's been developed. He went through
some tough times in the minors, so he's well-versed when it happens here.''
Страничка Евгения Набокова на
сайте "Звёзды с Востока"
19 октября. Голкипер «Сан-Хосе» Евгений Набоков: Я
готов ехать в Турин // "Советский Спорт"
8 декабря. Евгений Набоков: "В хеппи-энд не верю,
лечу в Магнитогорск" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
25 ноября. Евгений Набоков: "Выбор был простым - Омск
или Магнитогорск" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
11 октября. Голкипер «Сан-Хосе» Евгений Набоков: Огромный
привет болельщикам России! // "Советский Спорт"
19 октября. Голкипер «Сан-Хосе» Евгений Набоков: Я готов ехать в Турин // "Советский Спорт"
8 декабря. Евгений Набоков: "В хеппи-энд не верю, лечу в Магнитогорск" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
25 ноября. Евгений Набоков: "Выбор был простым - Омск или Магнитогорск" // "Спорт-Экспресс"
11 октября. Голкипер «Сан-Хосе» Евгений Набоков: Огромный привет болельщикам России! // "Советский Спорт"