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Nabokov, Russian team part ways

by Adam Kimelman
Evgeni Nabokov, who left the NHL for a four-year contract with Russian club SKA St. Petersburg during the summer, has left that team and his contract has been terminated, SKA announced Monday.

"The contract between the club and the goaltender (Evgeni) Nabokov was rescinded because of the family circumstances of the hockey player," was the explanation on the team's website.

In 22 games, Nabokov is just 8-8-5 with a 3.02 goals-against average and .888 save percentage. That's far below the career numbers the 35-year-old put up during his 10 seasons with the San Jose Sharks.

In what became his final game, against Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday, Nabokov was pulled after allowing three goals in the first nine minutes of the game.

Nabokov went 293-178-37 with 29 ties in 563 NHL games, all with the Sharks. He won at least 40 games the three previous season, including 44 in 2009-10 as the Sharks finished with the most points in the Western Conference.

A ninth-round pick in the 1994 Entry Draft, Nabokov is the franchise's all-time leader in games played, wins and shutouts (50), and has a 2.39 GAA and .912 save percentage.

He was 40-38 with a 2.29 GAA and .913 save percentage in 90 Stanley Cup Playoff games, including 8-7 last season when he guided the Sharks to the Western Conference Finals.

However, after the season the Sharks did not offer Nabokov, 35, a new contract, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent. To replace him they signed Antero Niittymaki and Antti Niemi.

Nabokov is free to sign with any NHL team, but that team would have to place him on waivers before activating him.

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