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ноября 2001 года.
Sharks rely on Nabokov // San Jose Mercury News
By Victor Chi
After earning gobs of media exposure, the Calder Trophy as the league's rookie of the year and the Sharks' MVP award last season, Evgeni Nabokov knew to prepare himself for a rockier ride in his second full season.
During training camp, Nabokov talked about how he suspected opponents would crowd him and bump him more. His prediction was accurate.
``Other teams try to create as much traffic as they can and try to screen me everywhere,'' Nabokov said. ``I expected that. Screens didn't happen too often last year. The game in Dallas'' on Nov. 7 ``was one example. They did everything they could to create traffic.''
The two goals Dallas scored that night were both from close-range clutters, a deflection and a rebound.
Nabokov, though, has fought through the rugged treatment -- he even got whistled for a retaliatory slash on Anaheim's Denny Lambert last week -- to post numbers comparable to those in his sensational rookie season.
His goals-against average is up slightly from 2.19 to 2.27 while his
save percentage is a smidge better, .915 then and .917 now (better than
Dominik Hasek at .909). The team leads the Pacific Division.
But the Sharks have endured a maddeningly inconsistent first quarter of the season, and Nabokov has had some of the same lapses that have plagued the rest of the team.
``I expect him to be one of the top 10 goalies in the league,'' Coach Darryl Sutter said. ``If he's not, then you expect more. We've got to be careful with our goaltending. As much as we feel that's our strongest position, they've got to perform to that level. We can't be saying we got out-goaltended because then it becomes a habit, and then it becomes a pattern.''
Nabokov was the anchor of the Sharks' six-game unbeaten streak, their strongest stretch of the season; he allowed two goals or fewer in every match.
In his six starts since then, the Sharks have won just once and Nabokov has allowed two goals or fewer just twice: a 4-2 victory at Anaheim and a 2-0 loss to Minnesota. (He didn't see either goal against Minnesota because of screens.)
``Maybe his game has been off by 5 percent,'' Hrudey said. ``But so has the rest of the team in general. And that makes what he does even more magnified.''
When a team struggles, the goaltender is going to absorb more than his
share of the responsibility.
Part of what Nabokov chalks up to bad luck has been the result of the defense's inexperience. The Sharks have been without top defender Mike Rathje all season because of a contract dispute and hard-hitting Bryan Marchment the past six games because of suspension, leaving them vulnerable on the back end.
Although Sutter has acknowledged that being thin on the blue line has made life tougher, he said Nabokov can't think that way or he'll be inviting more trouble.
``He can't be saying, `Oh, we've got three young defensemen back there,' '' Sutter said. ``He can't use that as an excuse. He's got to build that into his game. . . . It still boils down to the quality of it, and that's not been the case lately.''
During the Sharks' current two-week funk, Nabokov hasn't played poorly, but he hasn't been able to steal a game for them, either.
Through this disjointed season, the one constant for the Sharks has been their penalty-killing prowess; they rank third in the league. The goalie is often referred to as a team's best penalty-killer, and Nabokov has delivered in tough situations, particularly considering that the Sharks rank fourth in the Western Conference in times short-handed.
While doubts persist as the Sharks continue to search for their groove, Hrudey is sold on Nabokov's skills.
``Just watch how he moves across the crease,'' Hrudey said. ``He's worked
that hard to become that good. I wouldn't sweat one second having him in
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"