Tuesday, August 31, 2010

No, I'm Not A Slacker

I'm working on avoiding a major blog disaster. My computer crashed and all of my pictures (hockey, vacations, nieces/nephews) were headed for the swirling toilet bowl. My blog would be doomed until the start of the season. Fortunately my husband is a computer geek and is pretty sure he can get them back. And, if he can't, I have like 3 other friends willing to help me. So all is not lost! Hopefully none will be lost, but that is the reason for the hold up in posts.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blueland Guest Goalie: Evgeni Nabokov

Well the move is done and as moves usually are, it was hell. I'm living out of boxes, but I've got the internet so let's get back to some GPD Summer programming!

Someone who has been faced with the challenges of moving this summer is former goalie for the San Jose Sharks, Evgeni Nabokov. After spending 9 seasons with the Sharks, at the end of the 2009-10 season, the Sharks announced they would not be renewing Nabby's contract. Nabby signed with Ska St. Petersburg of the KHL. Pack your bags Nabby, you are going home!

I've always been a big Nabby fan. He's a great goalie and a lot of fun to watch.

He has the most intense stare.

He also has one of the most bad-assed masks in the NHL.

He also does one of my favorite goalie stretches, what I call "the lean." Ironically, so does his replacement with the Sharks, Antero Niittymaki.

Evgeni Viktorovich Nabokov was born in Ust-Kamenogorsk SSR, Soviet Union on July 25, 1975.

Guarding the crease runs in Nabby's family. His father, Viktor, was also a goalie. Evgeni decided at age 6 to play the position not only because of his dad, but because he felt secure guarding the net.

Evgeni played for his hometeam before joining Dynamo in Moscow. In the C-Pool of the 1994 World Championship, Nabokov played three games for Kazakhstan.

In the 1994 NHL Entry Draft, Nabby was taken in the 9th round, 219th overall by San Jose. The Sharks had never even seen Nabokov play and were more interested in his dad. San Jose Heads Scout Tim Burke saw Nabokov on an advertisement during his trip to Russia while Burke went to scout another player. Nabby only knew he got drafted when a few days later he read it in a newspaper.

After being drafted, Nabokov remained in Russia and posted good numbers with Moscow Dynamo, but was pretty much forgotten by the NHL until being seen by a Sharks representative at a tournament in Finland in 1997.

Nabby spent 3 season in the AHL with the Sharks (then) farm team, the Kentucky Thoroughblades. One bit of fun, though he was drafted as Evgeni Nabakov, it is said that he changed his name to "John" because he was afraid that North American fans would not be able to pronounce his real name. When asked about it, Nabby said:

No, it is not true. I have never tried to change my name. I always had my birth name. There was a nickname though. I don't know if it was a tradition or what. But I was nicknamed 'John.' But then it was all changed very quickly. But yes, at one time John was my nickname.

On January 1, 2000, Nabby made his NHL debut for the Sharks when he took over for injured goalie, Steve Shields in Nashville. A few weeks later on January 19, Nabokov started his first NHL game against the Colorado Avalanche. On the other end of the ice, legend Patrick Roy! Nabby stopped all 39 shots for a 0-0 tie.

In the second game of the 2000-01 season, Steve Shields hurt his ankle, leaving San Jose without a number one goalie. The Sharks had Miikka Kiprusoff in the AHL and considered him to the future of the franchise. Surprisingly, they did NOT to call up Miikka as the starter, they wanted him to stay in the AHL so he could get more experience. So, they gave the starting position to Nabokov, and he ran away with it. That season he won the Calder Memorial Trophy (Rookie of the Year) He also played in the 2001 All Star Game and took San Jose to the playoffs.

Unfortunately (kind of) Nabby helped the Sharks get to the playoffs every season of his 9 with San Jose except for 2 seasons. They just can't seem to go any farther than that. Siting cap room, the Sharks decided to go with a cheaper goalie.

Some fun facts about Nabby:
  • Nabby wears the number 20 in honor of Russian goal tending legent, Vladislav Tretiak.
  • On March 10, 2002, Nabby became the first NHL netminder to score a power play goal. This goal also made him the first European goalie to score a goal during a game. Nabby said:
"I (saw) him coming, I was going to give it to him, but after that I see the defensemen split so I was just like, 'I'm going to go for it,' and it went in...I'm going to lie if I say it wasn't exciting," He said he had practiced the shot "hundreds of times" but never come close to making it at any level.

So do svidaniya Nabby! Good luck in Mother Russia.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Moving Day Special!

Good news! I haven't neglected the blog due to my new job. The problem has been that I am moving! A new job and moving all at the same time, good times for me! The movers come today and I will spend the first night in the new place tonight, but will have no Internet access (or cable) until Saturday. *sob*

We had a few guys this season who moved right on through the team. We acquired Clarke MacArthur from Buffalo for a 2nd and 3rd round pick. At the end of the season we went to arbitration with Clarke and he was awarded $2.4 million, we walked away from it.

At the same time, we acquired Evgeny Artyukhin from the Anaheim Ducks for one of my favorites, Nathan Oystrick and a conditional pick. Arty's contract came to an end this summer and he is still unsigned by us or anyone else at the moment. (love the look on Schubert's face)

Moving sucks! Farewell guys and good luck!

GPD will be up and running with new stuff ASAP! Not to mention that training camp is right around the corner!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting

March 20, 2010: Eric Boulton vs Ian Laperriere
These two guys are no strangers to a fight, hell they are no strangers to fighting EACH OTHER! This is a battle of the #1s. Eric Boulton led the Thrashers in the 2009-10 season with 13 fights. He also became the all time team leader in penalty minutes, surpassing Jeff Odgers. Lappy, not to be outdone, led the Flyers with 25 fights. Hell, Lappy only had 25 less fights than ALL of the Thrashers combined last season.

Eric and Ian tying up.

Boultsie has his arm free.

Now they both do.

Boultsie throws a punch.

Trying to get Lappy's jersey over his head.

Some more jersey pulling.

Ugh oh, looks like Boultsie is going down.

Nope, down goes Lappy. Eric pulls back like the veteran he is.

Not a great fight, but it's always fun to see these two guys go at it. I could totally see them having a beer after wards. Though Boultsie was the more active pugilist, it was pretty much a draw as not much was landed. You can watch here and decide for yourself.

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Top 5 Things That Did NOT Suck About Being Unemployed

as far as hockey goes anyway. Having no job SUCKS. Collecting unemployment SUCKS. Getting tossed out by the company you moved here for 8 years ago SUCKS! I loved where I used to work and would go back in an instant. But, in the 14 months that I was unemployed, there were a few cool hockey related things I got to do that I probably wouldn't have gotten to do if I had a job. So to celebrate my new (temporary...but hopefully going permanent) job, I've gathered these pictures together and compiled a list of cool shit I got to do.

5. Drinking coffee and hanging out with some Thrashers.
This one probably could have been done with a job, but I couldn't have lingered as long. As a special promotion with the AM/PM stores located at BP gas stations (before the oil spill), you could drop by one morning and have coffee with various Thrashers.

The AM/PM by my house had Slava Kozlov, Christoph Schubert and Nik Antropov.

After getting some free coffee and chatting with the players, my husband and I headed to practice where they saw me again. This probably confirmed my status as a stalker.

4. Going to weekday practices.
I love going to Thrasher practice. It's a great source of free, hockey related entertainment.

The more practice sessions you go to, the more you learn the players personalities and the better the chance you see stuff like this. Besides, what the hell else did I have to do?

You also learn a lot about the game. I really enjoy watching the drills. It's also fun to see the guys cut up or get competitive with each other.

Week day practices are less crowded, making it much easier to get memorabilia signed.

Sometimes they get a little too competitive with each other. While going to practices, I saw two fights between the guys. This one was between Boris and Thorburn.

The other fight I saw was between Eric Boulton and Colby Armstrong. I was on the other side of the rink, but Tim Stoklas was right in front of the action and let me use these pics.

I love the look on Boult's face.

Week day practices also turned out to be good for checking out new additions to the team, like when Artyukhin came to town.

On the flip side, I was able to get a few last pictures of Kari Lehtonen before the trade.

I love practice! I'll still be there on the weekends, but I will really miss going every day.

3. Watching the Thrashers play paintball.
After training camp a few lucky fans and members of the Atlanta Thrashers Fan Club got to play paintball with the Thrashers! Club president, Lisa, needed a good photographer! Unfortunately, they all had jobs, so that left me! I got to tag along to take pictures of the fun.

Playing were Evander Kane, Spencer Machacek, Eric Boulton, Chris Thorburn, Zach Bogosian and several of the trainers. At first I was a little sad I wasn't playing. I got over that quickly.

Evander getting some ammunition.

Zach was intense and brought his game face.

2. Prospect Camp
Like practice, I plan on attending the weekend sessions, but I loved going every day. I got to go to both 2009 and the 2010 Thrashers Prospect camps. Honestly, before attending I didn't keep up with the prospects much. That has completely changed now!

After watching the likes of Klingberg, Koper, Kane, Sol, Carrozzi etc. etc. etc. I'm hooked on the prospects.

Not only do I follow the guys at camp, I follow their progress all year in my feature called "In The Nest."

Thanks to the excitement of my first prospect camp, I've not only become more interested in our prospects, but the entire draft.

And of course it's a great way to learn about new goalies!

1. Watching the Pittsburgh Penguins practice.
When you are a rink rat like I was the past season, you meet people and hear things. I had it from two different sources that the Pens were going to be in town early for their game and would be practicing at the Duluth facility.

Sources were correct! Me and several friends (who had jobs and took the afternoon off) headed up for practice. Not only were the guys going to practice, they were out in the parking lot playing soccer!

I love this picture of Geno looking at me like he is wondering how the hell I got through security.

I couldn't believe I was watching the 2009 Stanley Cup Champs practice, especially my Flower!

I got photobombed by Dupuis!

*sigh* Flower Power

Free Candy, bitches!

Seriously one of the most awesome hockey memories EVER (yet)

Hopefully when/if this job goes permanent, I will have some vacation time saved up by next season and can do some more stuff, but for now I'm a nights and weekend girl!

Working on a Habitat for Humanity build with Marty Reasoner and Chris Thorburn was awesome! This pictures can't technically be used, even though it was super cool. Why? I was still employed. THREE days after this picture was taken, I got laid off.


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