Friday, January 21, 2011

Nabokov would be a tremendous addition for the Red Wings

If the Red Wings can get Evgeni Nabokov through waivers it would be a terrific acquisition. While he may be rusty after playing in Russia in the KHL, and being off for awhile, there is still time remaining in the season to sharpen his skills. He is a world-class goalie. Although perhaps slowed a bit at age 35, he still was good enough to get San Jose into the NHL's version of the final four last year, and was a first-team NHL all star as recently as 2008. Nabokov is undoubtedly an upgrade from Joey MacDonald, and Chris Osgood's status is more than a bit iffy with a sport hernia injury. And don't forget, Osgood didn't play much last season, and has hardly played this season. I can't see him returning in March and suddenly being in top form.
It's interesting the Red Wings didn't offer Nabokov a contract for next season. If they really felt desperate for a quality backup to Jimmy Howard, they would have. Nabokov undoubtedly then would clear waivers. But evidently, they don't feel that desperate at this point. Any kind of significant injury to Howard and they will, though.

My column in Friday's Oakland Press: On balance, Rex Ryan is good for the NFL -


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good move, and I might have been persuaded to give Nabokov a multi year deal. Howard and Ozzie are on cheap deals afterall.

1:21 PM 
Blogger David Brennan said...

Why would Nabokov be the back-up? Howard has been bad this year (and he's never been anything more than average). The Red Wings are obviously a championship caliber club, and they shouldn't consider a goalie well into the bottom third in GAA to be their first option. That is, by definition, conceding that you're not very good. If Nabokov is at least mediocre, he'll be an upgrade.

It's funny that people used to always say that Red Wings goalie is the toughest job in Detroit because of the criticism. I don't know if that was ever true....but it sure as hell ain't true anymore. Howard - a mediocre to bad goalie - is treated like a star when (a) he's not, (b) he never has been, and (c) he never will be.

(This could possibly be because he happened to be born in the U.S. - which we know makes him genetically superior to people born in other countries. (Kidding.) But whatever the reason, the Red Wing's and the fans' contentment with Howard's miserable play is bizarre.)

6:24 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

DAvid Brennan,
You're right. There would a possibility, Nabokov could play in the postseason for the Red Wings if Howard faltered. He is a world class goalie when in shape.

12:46 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Ah yes, but the rest of the league, obviously, is not going to let Nabokov clear waivers.

12:46 PM 

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