I'll let my bias show just this once (shows all the time, buddy) as I say goodbye to Evgeni Nabokov. It may seem to the casual observer that Nabokov has suffered some tragic accident. Mauled by some form of Russian predator, something of that sort. No, the Sharks have just announced that they will not be bringing their longtime net-minder back for the next season
It's part of the business. It happens. It makes sense. Teams have to do this kind of thing. Does that make it any easier from a sentimental standpoint? No, it really doesn't, not at all. Ivano put together a very fitting tribute over at Fear The Fin. I could put together something else just as long and just as heart-felt. But it would be futile because I wouldn't be able to accurately convey my thoughts for the guy.
There's not many players in pro sports I get attached to - Nabby is near the top of that list. When he joined the team in 2000, I wasn't a big hockey fan. I wasn't huge on the NHL, but I could tell you that yes, I was a Sharks fan. I wasn't very privvy as to who Evgeni Nabokov was, nor did I watch every game that season, but as the season went on I became more acquainted.
Fast forward to right now and I remember Nabby as, not the greatest goalie but a constant top-ten and arguable top five for his entire tenure with the team. I remember a very humble guy who was both fun and interesting. A guy who truly appreciated the fans and never laid the blame on anyone but himself. If another team came up on top, in Nabby's world it was all his fault. More players need to be like this. Accountability should be obvious, too often does finger-pointing occur these days in sports.
Anyway... I'll just let you read the link above and close out my small tribute by saying good luck, Nabby, wherever you go you will never be cheered as hard as you were when you were announced at the Shark Tank.