2010 Sharks Playoff Preview: Nabokov & Greiss


The postseason is right upon us, so Plank and TCY thought it would be prudent to highlight each individual player on the Sharks roster heading into these glorious days. It gives us an opportunity to consolidate all the information we've obtained since the beginning of October, as well as examine the team at a micro-level. Every installment in this series can be found here.

There is literally nothing like the NHL playoffs in the entire world of sports-- the passion, the pain, the hope, the despair, the unrelenting feeling that this year could finally be the one. Each and every goal dictates whether or not you'll end up in some godforsaken alleyway in downtown San Jose singing songs to alley cats, or at home with loved ones singing songs of victory about the heroic undertakings of a team that has given meaning to the wild world in which we live in.
Fasten your seatbelts folks.

God save us all.

Evgeni Nabokov

#20 / Goalie / San Jose Sharks

Team MVP, franchise goalie, the glue that holds San Jose together. Evgeni Nabokov is all of these things, and without his steady presence in net throughout the 2009-2010 season, the Sharks could have very likely been looking at starting a first round series on the road.He's been that good.
Hung out to dry by an inconsistent team defense for the majority of the year, Nabokov has been stellar in his seventy starts. He's put up career numbers in a contract year, and by most accounts, will be looked at intently by many organizations shopping for a goaltender during free agency. Whether that is San Jose or not lies exclusively on this year's playoff run.
The book on Nabokov the last few seasons has been to go five-hole, but after being exposed in a playoff series against Anaheim, Evgeni did a very good job of working on that aspect of his game during the summer and improving those issues. He aggressively challenges shooters and loves to play the puck behind the net, waiting until the last minute to chip the puck over an incoming forechecker's stick-- and while both of these attributes are largely positive, they can get him into trouble sometimes. Acrobatic saves and a nasty glove hand are obviously his bread and butter.
For a 34 year goaltender who has seen a lot of work post-lockout, there is always a discussion on whether he has seen too many starts along the way. We think he has, and coupled with his statistics following a disheartening Olympic performance, how he performs in game 83 on is far from certain. The stigma of not being a big game goalie will be put to the test this postseason, especially with a below average defensive cast around him.
The good news is that Nabokov seems to putting it back together in the last five games. He's been stealing wins for the majority of the year, and if San Jose plans on making any noise in The Months That Shall Not Be Named, Nabokov will have to shoulder a heavy load.
If you're looking for who will decide the fate of your Stanly Cup dreams Sharks fans, look no further than here.

Thomas Greiss

#1 / Goalie / San Jose Sharks



Jan 29, 1986

Previous FTF Coverage: Evgeni Nabokov; Good goaltender, but is he a product of the system? (Plank) ... Five Sharks reasons to look forward to the Olympics (Ivano)... FTF Regular Season Cheat Sheet: Goalies

2009 - Thomas Greiss 16 782 7 4 35 2.69 399 364 .912 0

Evgeni Nabokov dictates his own starts. Like it or not, that's just the world we live in. However, when Nabokov did decide that he needed the night off, his relatively unknown backup Thomas Greiss stepped between the pipes and played much better than any could have expected of him.
Although Greiss has seen much weaker competition than Nabokov, he maintained a lower goals against average and a higher save percentage than San Jose's number one netminder for much of the year. Greiss has good quickness post to post (which has improved as the year has gone on), and is rarely caught out of position on the routine to mid difficulty saves.
However, Greiss does have the tendency to overcommit (especially in odd man rush situations), and the angles he takes to the shooter can at times seem curious, even dangerous, to the casual observer. He's capable of making the acrobatic saves, but does have trouble recovering from time to time. While scrambling back into position, he often has issues locating the puck, which can lead to second chances for the opposition.
That, coupled with his tendency to give up juicy rebounds, can lead to some pretty easy goals. However, Greiss always puts his team in a position to win. Although he may look like a chicken with its head cut off at times, he's very mature and has many of the qualities you'd expect from a veteran goalie.
Greiss won't get starts in the playoffs unless Nabokov is injured, simple as that. However, the progress that he has shown in 2009-2010 will make for an interesting offseason. In limited starts, he's shown that he's much more than a backup.