Everything Happening In The World Of Sports...The Way We See It

Posts Tagged ‘Evgeni Nabokov’

New York Islanders 2013-14 Season Preview

In Hockey on September 24, 2013 at 10:18 pm

2013 Recap
It took a while, but the Islanders finally put everything together and made the playoffs for the first time since 2007. And for a team that had spent years in the lottery, collecting high picks thanks to some incredibly bad hockey, it was one of my favorite stories to see in the NHL in 2013. Yeah, you could argue that it was the product of John Tavares dominating all year and the season being shortened, but it still counts as an important step forward for this franchise.

I thought they would be cannon fodder for the Penguins in the first round, but the Isles put up a ton of goals and one hell of a scare into the Pens before Dan Bylsma woke up from his nap and yanked Marc-Andre Fleury after game four. But in the end, a lethal Pittsburgh attack and some shaky goaltending by Evgeni Nabokov did the Isles in.

Will they build on last year’s success or regress back to being, well, the Islanders?

Newly appointed captain John Tavares is obscenely good at hockey and will be leading the charge offensively for the Isles once again this year with Matt Moulson on his wing. Between the two, you can go ahead and pencil in about 70 goals for the Isles. Pierre-Marc Bouchard is in town to be the new P.A. Parenteau and could get a crack at playing on the right side of the team’s top line.

After that, there are plenty of guys that can chip in offensively. Michael Grabner’s speed makes him a threat any time he’s on the ice. Kyle Okposo spent much of the first round burning a hole in the Pittsburgh defense, and could finally be ready to have the breakout year everyone has been predicting for the last four years. Those two make up the right wings for what should be the top two lines if Bouchard moves to the left or second line center.

Lo and behold, the Isles  actually have scoring depth behind the top six! Between Frans Nielsen, Casey Cizikas, Josh Bailey and with Ryan Strome on the way, the bottom six is shaping up to be dangerous. They can also bring the lumber with heavy hitter Matt Martin, Colin McDonald and newly-acquired Cal Clutterbuck ready to terrorize the opposition. Not only will the Isles score a bunch, but they could easily lead the league in hits.

They aren’t cupcakes to play against anymore. Look the hell out.

As good as the Islanders are offensively, there are going to be some serious doubts about this defense. They lost former captain Mark Streit, but re-signed Travis Hamonic to an extremely cap-friendly seven-year deal. Hamonic is a nice place to start, as he did an admirable job shadowing Sidney Crosby in last year’s playoffs. Lubomir Visnovsky is still a solid puck-mover and should move into Streit’s former role as the defensive mentor.

/cue laughter from Kings and Oilers fans

After those two, it’s dicey. Andrew MacDonald, Thomas Hickey, Matt Carkner, Brian Strait and Joe Finley all saw time last year, and only MacDonald is guaranteed to stick. They have a trio of young guys pushing for time in Matt Donovan, Calvin De Haan and Griffin Reinhart, but I know the Islanders won’t rush them if they aren’t ready.

I like the top pairing, but the Islanders should be on the horn looking for help on the back end starting yesterday. That puts a ton of pressure on the goaltending, and should keep an old friend of mine busy for the entire year.


Evgeni Nabokov could be the biggest key to the Islanders' success in 2013-14.

Evgeni Nabokov could be the biggest key to the Islanders’ success in 2013-14.

For a guy that I thought was cooked a few years ago, the Islanders never make last year’s run without Evgeni Nabokov between the pipes. He brought some stability to the Islanders’ crease, and that was good enough for GM Garth Snow to re-up the Russian netminder for one more year.

But the Penguins’ offensive juggernaut lit Nabby and the Isles defense up to the tune of 4.44 goals per game in their first round exit, as the guy just couldn’t come up with a big save when his team needed one. Will that change as the guy is now a year older? The Isles better hope not.

The battle for backup duty is between Kevin Poulin and Anders Nilsson. Both have had a cup of coffee in the NHL, but Poulin is on the inside track to earn the job. He’s been solid if not occasionally good, but has always had someone blocking his path to a full-time gig. His competition is Nilsson, a 6’5 behemoth whose only NHL action just so happened to be Sidney Crosby’s first game back after that long concussion bout. I can’t see Poulin not earning the job, given his past performances.

The Hat Trick
1. Youth on the Blue Line
The Islanders were rotten at times defensively. They have a couple of guys that will be NHL defensemen down the line in both Donovan and Reinhart. Should the back end start to resemble what it was in the Pittsburgh series, maybe it’s time to see what the kids have to offer. I for one wouldn’t be shocked if both wind up in the lineup before the year is over, even if that means keeping Reinhart and not sending him back to his junior team in Edmonton.

2. All Eyes on Tavares
He has finally arrived, and now teams will be preparing to throw everything they have at Tavares when he’s on the ice. Not that it’s going to matter, as the guy is simply that good. Now that he has the ‘C’ on his sweater, it’s his time to join the truly elite players in the league.

3. Nabokov’s Last Stand
With little experience coming from the backup goalie position, the Isles will need Nabokov to be just as good if not better than he was last year. At age 38, it will be interesting to see if he can still handle that workload and continue to be an effective goalie in the regular season. If not, the Snow might want to stay close to the phone and go searching for an insurance policy.

These guys are going to score and I believe they’re going to score alot. Games against the Pens and Flyers are going to be a treat to watch. But this team isn’t ready to battle with the big boys of the Metropolitan just yet, thanks in part to their play in their own end. But are they a playoff team? It’s gonna be close, but I think they get in. Fourth in the Metropolitan.

Must-Follow Islanders Twitter FeedI gotta be honest, I don’t follow a single Islanders fan or blogger. I’ll leave you with the musings of the team’s SB Nation blog, Lighthouse Hockey, as well as ESPN’s Katie Strang. Chalk that one up to West Coast bias.

I am Ryan Thomas, and this post will have to work. Follow me on Twitter @rthomas_22, and chirp at me for being way behind on my previews.


A Dozen Doses of What Could Have Been

In Hockey on August 5, 2013 at 12:08 am

As sports fans, we have all sat back and played armchair quarterback when it comes to our favorite teams. The “what if” factor is what makes sports the greatest bit of reality television on the planet. And no matter how many highs your team might get to experience, it’s the ones that got away that seem to stick with fans more.

Sadly, this look usually comes at the end of a Sharks' playoff series.

Sadly, this look usually comes at the end of a Sharks’ playoff series.

This is one of those lists, dealing with my beloved San Jose Sharks

I don’t need to re-hash what the playoffs have been like for the Sharks, who have remained one of the NHL’s top teams for a decade (although words like pair, torture and hell are three that come to mind). Sure, they’ll always have the upset of the Blues in 2000, the run to the West Finals in 2004 and staving off Detroit in 2011. But even with all of the success, I have been stuck wondering what might have been in my 13 years as a fan of this team. I saw a Tweet where someone asked a fellow Sharks’ fan if they could pick one game to change the outcome to, which one would it be? I feel that since it’s a Saturday night and I’m making friends with a few Miller Lites, I would not only make one choice, but rank a dozen of them.

And after putting together my list, it’s a good thing I’m drinking.

Honorable Mention

Game 7 vs. Toronto, 1994 Western Conference Semifinals
Yes, I know that the Garpenlov crossbar and the fact Sandis Ozolinsh passed on a great shooting opportunity will stick with Sharks fans that have been with the team from the beginning. But that’s the thing, I haven’t. So having said that, it gets a stick tap, but nothing more from me.

Game 3 vs. Dallas, 2008 Western Conference Semifinals
Facing a 2-0 deficit and pushing for a win on the road to get back in, the Sharks do what we all expected them to in overtime of game 3. That of course is allow a goal to a guy that scored all of 18 career NHL goals (Mattias Norstrom) to get the game winner in overtime on a shot that hit Jeremy Roenick’s stick. And you call Patrick Marleau a choker, eh JR?

Game 2 vs. Anaheim, 2009 Western Conference Quarterfinals
This series will always bother me because of how good the Sharks were in the regular season and the amount of rubber they launched at Jonas Hiller in this series. Down by a game, the Sharks outshot the Ducks 44-26 but still lost 3-2 because the guy at the other end of the ice was better than Evgeni Nabokov. And no, this is not the last time Nabokov will be mentioned on this list.

Game 3 vs. Colorado, 2010 Western Conference Quarterfinals
I thought the Sharks were lucky to be tied at 1-1 heading into game 3 of this series. And this game turned into the Craig Anderson show quickly, as the Colorado netminder stopped 51 shots to record the shutout. But hey, at least a Shark scored in the game. Of course, it was when Dan Boyle inadvertently whipped a behind-the-net clearing attempt into his own net (although I maintain it hit TJ Galiardi’s stick on the clear).But hey, if Nabokov is holding the near post properly, that puck doesn’t go in.

Thankfully, Boyle redeemed himself in game 4, Joe Pavelski bailed the Sharks out for the second time in the series and San Jose went on to hammer Colorado in games 5 & 6 to win the series.

Game 1 vs. Vancouver, 2011 Western Conference Finals
A dead tired team only a few days removed from a battle with Detroit held a lead late in the opening game of the Western Conference Finals. While I was having dreams of stealing home ice advantage, the Cancuks slipped a pair of goals past Antti Niemi in the third period en route to winning the game.

With two days between games, the Sharks could have gotten some serious momentum from the win and then some rest before game two. Damn it all…

Think those were bad? It only gets worse from here.

No. 12, Game 1 vs. Dallas, 2008 Western Conference Semifinals
People might not remember that several experts pegged the Sharks as Cup favorites heading into the playoffs. However, having not beaten the Stars in regulation since 2006, the Sharks had to prove that their 7-game series with the Flames in the first round was only a hiccup.

So naturally, they came out flat and the Stars jumped out to a 2-0 lead after two periods. But hope that was once lost was found again when San Jose tied the game late in the third on a Jonathan Cheechoo goal. But even with that momentum, the Sharks gave away home ice in OT when Brendan Morrow hammered home a slap shot after a goal mouth scramble. Turns out Morrow was just getting started, as he went on to dominate this series.

No. 11, Game 3 vs. Calgary, 2008 Western Conference Quarterfinals
This game boggles my mind to this day because of how good the Sharks looked early on. Not only did they jump out to a 3-0 lead, they did so in the FIRST FOUR MINUTES OF THE GAME. The Sharks also chased playoff nemesis Miikka Kiprusoff from the net in favor of 86-year old Curtis Joseph. It was all good and the Sharks were about to take a 2-1 lead, right? No. Calgary charged back into the game and Joseph looked like CuJo circa 1999. To top it all off, the Flames got the winner from Owen Nolan with just over three minutes to go in the game and what should have been a sure win was gone.

And the Sharks passed on Nolan (my favorite player of all time) the previous offseason to sign Roenick.

But the fact remains, if the Sharks win this game, this series is over in five and the Sharks can get some rest before the Dallas series.

No. 10, Game 7 vs. Colorado, 2002 Western Conference Semifinals
This year marked the season the Sharks finally broke through and won their first ever division title. After laying waste to Phoenix in the opening round, the Sharks met a Colorado powerhouse in round two. After six games, nothing was solved and it came down to a do-or-die game seven in Denver.

Now, there aren’t many people around the NHL that don’t care for Teemu Selanne. After this game, some Sharks fans still find it difficult to forgive him (I have moved on, but not everyone has). After a net-mouth scramble, Selanne had a chance at an open net wrap-around that would have tied the game at 1. Instead, Patrick Roy made the save as one of the greatest finishers of all time couldn’t tuck it home. Colorado would hold on and win the game 1-0, giving a 15-year old me a taste of things to come.

Why don’t I rank this game higher? Because the team waiting on the winner is the most stacked team I’ve ever seen in the 2002 Red Wings. Colorado could hang with them, I say the Wings would have DUSTED the Sharks. But then again, we’ll never know the result.

No. 9, Game 7 vs. Los Angeles, 2013 Western Conference Semifinals
Let me be clear, this loss HURT. The Sharks matched the then-defending champions every step of the way in this seven-game classic. The only glaring miss (because I was HAMMERED for this game and don’t remember everything) was Pavelski missing an open net. If you or anyone want to blame the man, stop. It was a bouncing puck that he shot as quick as he could and Jonathan Quick got to it. That doesn’t excuse the Sharks’ play in the opening half of the game, which LA dominated.

So why isn’t this one higher? Because the series could have (should have) been over and not needed a seventh game. More on that later.

No. 8, Game 1 vs. Chicago, 2010 Western Conference Finals
I was jacked for this because my team had the chance to meet the team that all of my friends cheer for. After Jason Demers scored mid-way through the opening period, the Sharks buzzed Antti Niemi and the Chicago net for a total of 44 shots on goal in the game. Of course, Niemi didn’t allow another goal for the remainder of the game and after Chicago tied the game in the second on a HORRENDOUS goal given up by Nabokov to Patrick Sharp, I knew the Sharks were in trouble.

Known alcohol, buffet and boating enthusiast Dustin Byfuglien would score in the third to kick-start a Chicago sweep on their way to a Stanley Cup.

I don’t know if winning game one would have changed the outcome of the series, but come on. Win a freaking game. I still have to hear a bunch of BS about this sweep from my friends.

No. 7, Game 4 vs. Detroit, 2007 Western Conference Semifinals
What sticks out the most about this particular team is that they were built to make a run at the Cup after trading for Bill Guerin, Craig Rivet and Mike Grier before the trade deadline. Through three games, the Sharks had the West’s top-seeded Red Wings on the ropes, leading the series 2-1. After jumping out to a 2-0 lead, the Sharks allowed a pair of late second and third period goals before Matt Schneider capped the comeback in OT. Series tied, and was basically over as the Sharks never recovered from this heart-breaker.

Yes, I know the eventual Stanley Cup Champion Ducks were waiting in the conference finals had the Sharks won this game and series. I liked their chances against Anaheim that year more than I did in 2009. But alas.

No. 6, Game 1 vs. Calgary, 2004 Western Conference Final
This series will drive me crazy until the day I die. I feel that this is the best chance the Sharks have ever had to make it to the Finals, and they dropped the ball. Yes, I could point to the other three losses in the series, but game one is the one that irritates me to this day. The Sharks overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to send the game to overtime, only to be beaten on a goal by Steve Montador. At that point in his career, Montador had scored a whopping three goals in his career.

Of course, the Sharks flopped at home in games two and five and were done in six. This started the debate on whether or not the Sharks should have dealt Nabokov (especially after his holdout to start the 2002-03 season) and kept Kiprusoff. But Kiprusoff was atrocious in his audition to take the starting job and S.O.L. with Nabokov and Toskala playing better in front of him leading up to the trade to Calgary.

But hey, at least the Sharks turned the second round pick from the Flames into Marc-Edouard Vlasic. That counts for something right?



No. 5, Game 6 vs. Dallas, 2008 Western Conference Semifinals
I felt awesome about the Sharks’ chances heading into this game. The Sharks battled back from down 3-0 to close the series deficit to 3-2 and if they could win in the house of horrors knows as American Airlines Center, our boys had a chance to complete the ultimate comeback. The teams settled nothing in regulation, and all hell broke loose in overtime. First, the greatest save I have ever seen with my own two eyes. I thought the series was over and Nabby gave his team a clutch save when he had routinely failed to do so in the past. Minutes later, Patrick Marleau had a golden chance to end the game thanks to a great pass from Roenick. But of course Marty Turco was able to stop the shot after trying some sort of dropkick, and the game continued.

And continued.

And continued.

Finally, in the fourth overtime, Brian Campbell cemented his legacy in Sharks lore, taking a tripping penalty that led to Morrow’s series winning tap-in powerplay goal. Think of how the refs swallow the whistles in overtime playoff games and let that sink in.

And to top it all off, I was supposed to be studying for a final exam that night. No studying got done and I barely passed my final. Damn you, Brian Campbell!

No. 4, Game 5 vs. Detroit, 2011 Western Conference Semifinals
This game was over after two periods. Over. The Red Wings had no answer for the Sharks and another five-game defeat was lurking. But unlike the previous year, the Wings got a few bounces and scored three times in the third period, sending the series back to Detroit for a sixth game that everyone knew the Wings were going to win. It’s another game that could have given the Sharks some extra rest for some of their injured players (namely Dany Heatley). Instead, I could hardly sleep with the thought of the Sharks blowing a 3-0 series lead to a team that’s generally disliked by the hockey community.

Could the extra rest have made a difference against Vancouver? Possibly. I know they would have been fresher for the opening game of the series. Even though the series had a happy ending, I still think it was inexcusable to let this game get away.

No. 3, Game 5 vs. Vancouver, 2011 Western Conference Finals
13 freaking seconds. That’s how close the Sharks were to surviving and sending this series back to San Jose. And to top it all off, the egregious missed icing call on Dan Boyle that led to the tying goal is something that still drives me mental. And to make things better, the Sharks continued to launch rubber at Roberto Luongo through the first overtime and into the second.

We all know how it ended, with the worst bounce this franchise has ever experienced. That’s the image that will always stick with me. If Daniel Sedin had ripped a wrister clean over Antti Niemi’s shoulder, I would have been less upset. But that f’ing stanchion and the perfect bounce to the only guy that knew where the puck was is a sequence I still haven’t recovered from.

Thankfully, the Sharks were able to get a bit of revenge in 2013, cashing in with a sweep of a team that’s impossible to like. It doesn’t erase the scar, but man was it nice.

No. 2, Game 2 vs. Los Angeles, 2013 Western Conference Semifinals.
It was damn near impossible for the Sharks to score on Jonathan Quick in this series, especially at Staples Center. So three goals should have been enough, or so I thought. The combination of a Brad Stuart penalty and a BULLS*** delay of game penalty on Vlasic gave the Kings a 2-man advantage.

Let me be clear on something, I have no problem with the delay of game penalty in the NHL. It’s one of the few black-and-white penalties that this game has. But there was ZERO intent for Vlasic to fire the puck over the glass on the PK, And to top it off, THE PUCK HIT JEFF CARTER’S STICK ON THE WAY OUT. Hey NHL, I like your sport and your operation. But not only should intention be called into question when calling this penalty, but it needs to be reviewable. I’ll get off my soapbox now.

Even down two men, I had enough faith in the Sharks’ penalty kill and Niemi to fend off the Kings sometimes anemic powerplay. But of course, they struck twice and got a couple gifts from the Sharks PK in the process. First, Logan Couture failed to clear a puck leading to Dustin Brown’s tying goal. OK, get a guy back on the ice and play for OT. I knew it was possible and I expected it.

Of course, I was proven wrong when seconds later when Niemi kicked out a fat rebound to Trevor Lewis who abused Joe Pavelski on his way to smacking the puck into a yawning cage, giving the Kings a 2-0 lead in the series.

I didn’t panic after this game, but I wasn’t happy. Assuming the rest of the series plays out the same way, the Sharks are playing Chicago in the West Finals, not LA.

No. 1, Game 3 vs. Edmonton, 2006 Western Conference Semifinals
But as bad as everything above was, this game is my nominee for the one I want back the worst. Leading 2-1 late in the third with a 2-0 lead in the series, Raffi Torres beats Vesa Toskala with a perfect shot to even the game and send it to overtime.

The Sharks’ best chance came in double overtime when league MVP Joe Thornton and Rocket Richard winner Cheechoo had a 2-on-1. Thornton made a perfect pass to Cheech in the slot and he rifled it straight to the top shelf, only to see the puck find its way into the diving glove of Dwayne Roloson.

Know that sinking feeling you get when you know a goal should have happened, didn’t, and you knew trouble was coming? That’s exactly the feeling I had.

Sure enough, in the third overtime, Shawn Horcoff slid a puck past Toskala in the goal mouth and all momentum the Sharks had was gone as Edmonton won the next three games.

Now is this one as demoralizing an ending as some of the others on this list? Not even close. So why is it at the top of my list?

Remember at that point in the playoffs, the West’s top four seeds were all eliminated at this point, and the West was destined to go through San Jose. The Sharks had the chance to put their foot on the Oilers’ throats and advance to the West Finals where they would have met a young and not-quite-ready Mighty Ducks team. And yes, they could have sucked it up and won any of the three games that followed. But a triple-OT defeat is crushing to any team, and the Sharks’ “playoff choker” label that has followed the Sharks for years might as well have been born after this game.

I know hockey experts want to disregard the 2005-06 season and call it an anomaly, but people still recognize the Hurricanes as Stanley Cup Champions, damn it! This was the ultimate chance for the Sharks to give themselves a chance, and it didn’t happen.

So that’s it. I hope you’re all done with however many bottles of whiskey this persuaded you to drink. And if you think I’m wrong, please let me know which one tops your list.

My name is Ryan Thomas and I’m making a call to my therapist now. Follow me on Twitter @rthomas_22 and I promise I’ll be more positive than this at all times.

The Goaltending Foxhole, Part Three

In Hockey on November 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm

This is where things start to get good. So far, we’ve taken a look at the goaltenders that, for the most part, we can all agree you would want nowhere near the crease in a must-win game. The reasons vary, but the fact remains.

As we plunge on, today we take a look at the old guard in net. Guys that are battle tested and know how to handle themselves in a big game, mainly because they’ve been in a few. Despite their experience, time is starting to catch up to these warriors of the crease, and their game has suffered because of it.

I shall call this group:

The Greybeards
(I know, not much for creativity. Deal with it.)

Brian Boucher played a big part in the Flyers' run to the 2010 Cup Finals

Brian Boucher
One of my favorite guys got quite some time. Boucher has fought to keep a spot in this league, and he’s been pretty good over the last few years.¬† Despite his performances in the last two playoffs with the Flyers, Boucher finds himself on this list. If you watched him at all during last year’s playoffs with a decent Flyers squad, it’s not hard to understand why.

Johan Hedberg
Another guy that I’ve enjoyed for quite some time. Hedberg made a big splash late in 2001 when he backstopped the Penguins to the East finals. Since then, Hedberg has been stuck playing on some bad teams. He went through some struggles after leaving Pittsburgh, but he has been sensational over the last three season in Atlanta and New Jersey. So as much as I like the Moose, he falls here.

Martin Biron
A guy that has been the ultimate teammate over the years, Biron now holds the clipboard on the Rangers’ bench. When he has gotten to play, however, he’s been great for the Rangers. He had the task of following Dominik Hasek in Buffalo, only to be the guy keeping the starting goalie seat warm for Ryan Miller. Has only been the guy in one deep playoff run, leading the Flyers to a surprising trip to the East finals in 2008.

The hockey world was introduced to J.S. Giguere in 2003.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere
Our first Cup winner to make any list, Giggy has rebounded this season with some nice play in Colorado. He’s easily the most decorated goalie that has been names thus far, although that’s going to change soon. He was at his best with the Ducks, winning a Cup and a Conn Smythe trophy for taking the ’03 Ducks (the worst Cup Finalists of all time) to within one win. Unfortunately, his game tailed off around 2008, and he’s struggled ever since in Anaheim and Toronto. He’s nearing the end of the career, and a mighty good one at that.

Evgeni Nabokov could get one more chance to take a team deep if the Islanders trade him.

Evgeni Nabokov
My old buddy. Nabby carved out a spectacular career in San Jose for 10 seasons. Then no one would offer him a contract, and his game went to garbage. He’s trying his best to get out of Long Island, but a current injury may prevent that for the time being. Nabokov was notorious for caving in big games throughout his time in San Jose, and that’s a label that he won’t be able to shed.

Nikolai Khabibulin
The second Cup winner on this list, Khabibulin is going through a resurgence of his own in Edmonton this season. He’s kept the young Oilers in the playoff chase, although I have to admit, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop. Khabbi hasn’t been very good since the lockout, and despite his current pace of play, I have to have him on this list.

Jose Theodore
Another goalie that’s having a great season for a surprising team. Theodore has also been through a lot in his career, and I think that he’s thriving in a place where the pressure level isn’t very high. He’s had some issues in the playoffs in his career, winning only three playoff series. Granted, Theo was the reason his teams won those series, he got lit up like a christmas tree in the second rounds. He’s currently keeping the crease warm for Jacob Markstrom, but it’s fun to see him playing well right now. In other words, my fantasy team is reaping the benefits.

Miikka Kiprusoff
The third San Jose draft pick on this list, Kipper has seen his game dip over the last few years. Playing in front of a few bad Calgary teams also hasn’t helped his stats. But we know that the guy is going to play a ton of games each season and keep the Flames in the payoff chase. However, the fact that Kipper hasn’t won a playoff series since taking Calgary to the Stanley Cup Finals back in 2004. The way the Flames are set up this year, I don’t see him getting a chance to change that.

Dwayne Roloson
The NHL’s current ageless wonder. Roloson has been through a lot during his time in the league, and I thought that he was done heading into last season. He played well to earn a ticket out of Long Island, and he took the Lightning to within one game of the finals. He’s still trucking along this season, but he’s been leaky at times playing in front of the exciting Lightning. Come playoff time, I expect Roli to be back to his old self, but he still worries me.

He could be the greatest to ever play, but lately, Martin Brodeur has been just average.

Martin Brodeur
The first shocker in the list. Look, Brodeur is quite possibly the greatest goaltender of all time, but he’s had trouble staying healthy over the past few years, and his numbers have suffered as a result. I want to believe that Marty has one more deep playoff run in him, but there’s no way it can be in New Jersey. But if we’re going on past experiences, no one playing today has the resume Brodeur has. But Brodeur clearly hasn’t been the same guy over the last couple seasons, and I have n0 choice but to put him in this section.

That covers it for this section, be sure to check back in the next few days for the next installment of the list. And please, REACT TO ME.