Takes and trash talk from both ALL sides of the NHL's most obscure PATHETIC* rivalry

* Thanks, Kevin Lowe!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Who's booing Nabby now?

Man, all freakin' season at the Shark Tank, I had to listen to morons boo the crap out of Evgeni Nabokov. It doesn't take a genius to realize that his stats were great even when his goal support sucked balls, so really, why the hate? Yeah, he let up some bonehead plays, but then again, so did Matt Carle on quite a regular basis. Go visit the official Sharks chatroom and it was non-stop "Nabby is the great Satan" over and over and over.

And then Nabby gets like 923 shutouts in a row. Suddenly, everyone loves him.

In the immortal words of Ash -- "First you want to kill me. Now you want to kiss me. Blow."

So, now the shoe is on the other foot. During today's broadcast, an informal poll of TV viewers had about 70% of fans voting to run with Nabby in the playoffs. In the infamous Sharks chatroom, people are talking about sticking with Nabby instead of getting Vesa Toskala back in the rotation.

Part of the reason why Nabby himself thinks he's on a roll is that he's been able to get in a groove by playing so many games consistently. I don't really buy that because he was hotter than flaming crap earlier in the season and Ron Wilson was still doing his goalie rotation. No, I think this is more a case of good timing for Nabby, bad timing for Toskala. In other words, it's the exact reverse of what happened last season.

So, let's just assume that Nabby continues his level of play and Toskala comes in and plays pretty darn well himself down the stretch. What's a playoff coach to do? Personally, I think both goalies can do a good job and it's the young defense that had me most worried (as I'd bitched on here fairly regularly about). However, Craig Rivet seems to have given everyone a nice boost of confidence and the forwards decided to start scoring again (hello Mark Bell -- why the hell didn't you play this way earlier in the season?).

So if I had to pick, well, I'd take the easy way out and just pick whoever played better during the final two weeks of the season. However, I wouldn't do the one-and-one rotation in the playoffs; I'd play a goalie until he had a bad game, then switch and let the other goalie run with it until he had a bad game.

In most normal situations, a coach will play his backup maybe once, but not in consecutive games. I'd just defy that logic completely and tell the two guys that the last two weeks serves as an audition for whoever gets the first pass. However, one strike and the other guy goes in indefinitely.

Hopefully, these guys would be professional enough to be motivated by this. Maybe Vesa Toskala's still hurting by the trade of his best Finnish bud Ville Niemenen.


Earl Sleek said...

"First you want to kill me. Now you want to kiss me. Blow."

Flat out awesomeness there, Mike.

You make a good point about Nabby's fortuitous timing being a mirror of what happened to Tosky last year. It's gotta be weird--the Ducks have had times where they've had a "1-a and 1-b" goaltending tandem, but never a "1-a and 1-a" pairing.

To be honest though, I've always been more afraid of Vesa than Nabby, but I'm not even sure what I'm basing that on.

Mike said...

Preach on. Related to the goal support issue, Nabby faced all the toughest opponents the first half of the season- it just worked out that way. So that skewed the numbers too.

I think I know why Sleek maybe more afriad of Tosk. I think Nabby's variance in play is higher, but the quality too. So you might get a crappier outing from Nabby on his worst night than Tosk, but when Nabby is on, he's Irbe: "Like Wall".

Ian said...

I think the difference between Nabby and Toskala this year up until Nabby's hot streak is entirely reflected in the W-L. Save percentage and GAA for both was similar, but watching the games, Nabby would have shutouts and outstanding games, and then would go through a stretch where he played just well enough to lose.

He'd let in the first shot he faced. He'd keep things close, then let in a bad goal in the third.

Toskala never really dominates his games, but is usually a goal or two ahead of the other 'tender. Toskala has a maddening habit of letting in a soft goal to break up a shutout bid, or when the Sharks are up by two so the end of the game is more interesting than it should be. His play is always enough to win, though.

Sharks fans have always been a little "new puppy!" with their goaltenders, so it's no surprise that they're falling all over themselves jumping back on the Nabby bandwagon.

ninja said...

Isn't Nabby a new father? I've seen this do wonders to players before. Lampard. Tucker. I'd stick with him in the playoffs.

Shame people got off the Nabby wagon in the first place.

But enough of that...is Toskala in nets tonight? My fantasy life depends on it.

Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart.

Jordi said...

Fuck, stop teasing around with Rivet. HE WAS OURS FIRST.