Evgeni Nabokov was last seen on the ice in the United States placing the clamps on a shell-shocked Red Wings team. The San Jose Sharks team that he had placed more than 10 years of sweat and hard work on were celebrating around their heralded Russian goalie. Nabokov was off to the St. Petersburg club and the KHL right after the season, awaiting that second chance for NHL goalie glory. Now, depending on whether he clears waivers, he may have found another chance in the NHL with the least likely of hockey clubs.
Watching Red Wings games lately has been a battle of a quality team having to play ugly and wide open to win games. Sloppy passes and goaltending have been the main staple to a Red Wings team looking for their soul. Wins lately have only come during the overtime session, which often means space between the Wings and other teams becomes very minimal. With Osgood on the shelf and Howard looking shaky post injury, Nabokov seems to be the right choice for a team needing some spirited lift going into the final three months of the season.
As far as winning goaltenders go, Evgeni Nabokov fits that bill. He has won with teams that shouldn’t have had the success that they had. Nabokov teams frequently played open with stingy defense at the blue line. He didn’t win nearly 300 regular season and 40 playoff games by being just a lucky netminder. It wasn’t his large pad size either. The things that may have derailed his career early on did not. Now, he’s one clearing of waivers away from changing the fortunes for himself and for the Red Wings.