Halfway through the season the Islanders are once again at the bottom of the standings. However, let's just take some time now to look at a great acheivment that was recently achieved by a great Islander. By looking at the title, I guess you know that I am talking about Evgeni Nabokov getting his 300th career win Saturday night against the Sabres.
Although his stats from Saturday might not be earth-shattering, this achievement is. (He made 23 saves on 25 shots on Saturday.) Only 25 other goalies have ever accomplished that mark. It has taken Evgeni Nabokov 583 career games to reach this mark. In retrospect, Mike Richter played 666 career games and only got 301 career wins. Legendary Hall of Famer Turk Broda played 629 games, and won 302. Former Washington Capital Olaf Kolzig played 719 games and only won 303. This puts Nabokov at a pace to pass all of the above goalies as well as Isles legend Billy Smith (305 Wins) by the end of the season. Doing so would put Nabby in 22nd place in the all time wins list. That is one heck of an accomplishment.
It's been a long road coming.
Almost 12 years ago to the day, Nabokov made his first NHL start on January 19, 2000 and matched Hall of Famer Patrick Roy shot for shot, the game ended in a 0-0 tie. He won the Calder Memorial Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 2001. He scored a goal in 2002. In his career with the Sharks, he played in 80 playoff games, winning 40. He also played in two All-Star Games and won a Gold Medal at the 2008 World Chamiponships for Russia. Things got a little bumpy from there.
After the Sharks told him he wouldn't be coming back for the 2010-11 season, Nabokov went to Russia to play in the KHL. Why? Nobody in the NHL wanted him. Four months into that contract, it was terminated by mutual consent between him and the KHL club. We all know what hppened when the Isles claimed him on re-entry waivers from Detroit last season, but now that can be considered a blessing.
Although it has been a rough year for Nabby, he has had his fair share of great moments. He is making the veteran minimum at $570,000. He got injured in November, then recently came back and has started the last eleven games. All of this led to win #300.
In my opinion, the Islanders need to keep playing him. He is regaining some of the form he had when he was with the Sharks. If he stays healthy, keep him rolling. But for now, let's bask in his 300th win. Congrats Nabby! Hopefully there are many more to come down the final 40 games of the season.
Lets Go Islanders!!!