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Boucher Ready to Take the Reins

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

The news wasn’t that bad on Friday at Sharks Ice at San Jose with regards to Evgeni Nabokov’s lower body injury. Last night, Nabokov gingerly skated off the ice after he stopped the final shot in the shootout, which was won by San Jose over St. Louis, 5-4.


Nabokov is listed as day-to-day and while Thomas Greiss was called up from San Jose’s top development affiliate in Worcester, the injury doesn’t appear to be serious.

“He was reevaluated by the doctors and trainers this morning and everything was positive,” Head Coach Todd McLellan said. “It’s a lower body injury and it’s being treated as day-to-day.”

The best news is Nabokov won’t be out too long. The other good news is the Sharks are extremely confident in his replacement. Brian Boucher is perfect in 2008-09, with shutouts in both of his starts.

In his three starts with San Jose last season, Boucher posted a shutout in his first game and was victorious in his other two. That makes him 5-0 in teal.

“It’s been going well so far, but it’s only been two games,” Boucher said about this season.

Boucher’s teammates are very comfortable in his abilities as well.

“Nothing needs to change,” defenseman Dan Boyle said. “He’ll stop what he can see.”

Boucher’s two starts this season, as well as what he did last season and in the past, have given his teammates confidence.

“It certainly helps,” Boyle said.

Nabokov is 10-2 so far this season. Now, for a little bit, Boucher will have to keep the momentum going. Sharks fans will be excited to see what he can do. Boucher is used to having attention. He’s been in deep playoff runs and holds the National Hockey League record for the longest shutout sequence and most consecutive shutouts, both set in 2003-04 with Phoenix.

Boucher knows he’ll return to reserve status when Nabokov is healthy. And that’s fine with him.

“We all want to play, but I accept my role on this team,” Boucher said.

Getting some additional ice time is a plus, although he would rather it not be due to an injury.

“When you’re playing and winning, you feel a part of it,” Boucher said.

Boucher was likely in line for an upcoming game as the Sharks have a back-to-back set this weekend with Dallas and Phoenix.

“With the back-to-back, Sunday was going to be my start in Phoenix,” Boucher said.

Boucher has faced game action just twice in the last month, but the practices against the high-flying Sharks offense has him plenty ready.

“When you don’t play for two weeks, you use practice as your barometer,” Boucher said. “You want to try and make a difference.”

GETTING HEALTHY
It looks like McLellan may field a full lineup on Saturday against Dallas. Marcel Goc is close to returning and Jody Shelley will be back following the birth of his first child.

“Everyone is doing great,” said Shelley of mother and child. “It’s a special thing.”

The full name of his newborn is Owen William Shelley and both names have something of a tie-in. William is his wife’s father’s middle name and they simply liked Owen, mostly due to knowing New York Islanders center Mike Sillinger’s son of the same name.

Thursday was a long day for the Shelley family and the new father actually considered playing after the birth, which happened just before Noon.

“I wanted to get back last night, but I was running out of steam,” Shelley said. “I went home last night and woke up at six and couldn’t wait to get back to the hospital.”

PRACTICE GOALIE
With Nabokov resting and Greiss still in transit from Worcester, the Sharks called upon former San Jose State University club goatender Ryan Lowe to defend one goal in practice. Lowe actually has an ECHL game to his credit, a shootout loss while playing for Utah.

Lowe regularly skates during the summer Captains’ Practices at Sharks Ice.

“I was coaching some kids and as soon as ‘Nabby’ was hurt, I joked that maybe I’d get a phone call,” Lowe said. “Then one of the equipment guys called me 30 minutes later.”

Lowe was still hoping to go professional this year.

“I was in Fresno with the Falcons training camp, but was cut,” said Lowe about playing for the ECHL team. “I’m here coaching goalies.”

NEXT GAME
The Sharks will play hosts to Dallas Saturday in a 7 p.m. start that will be available on CSN Bay Area, 98.5 KFOX and sjsharks.com. Tickets can be found at www.ticketmaster.com and at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office.


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