Although most Sharks fans were tuned in to the NHL Awards Show to see Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov as a finalist for the Vezina Trophy, it was Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur who took home the hardware as the NHL’s top goalie.
“You can’t be surprised in those things,” said Nabokov following the awards ceremony. “It’s out of your control and you just don’t know how people vote. It’s just going to push me to work harder.”
This marked the first time that Nabokov was a finalist for the Vezina, as his previous best standing in the award was a fourth place finish in 2001-02.
Nabokov, who was previously named the Seagate Technology “Sharks Player of the Year” for 2007-08, led the NHL in wins with 46, the fourth most wins by a goaltender in a single season in NHL history. He was tied-for-third in goals-against average with a 2.14 mark (lowest of his NHL career), tied-for-third in shutouts (6) and he was second in minutes played at 4560:56 while starting in 77 of the team’s 82 games. The 77 appearances were tied for the most in the NHL this season with Brodeur and were tied-for-fourth most by a goaltender in a single season in NHL history.
Earlier in the day, Nabokov got a phone call from newly appointed Sharks Head Coach Todd McLellan. The two share a mutual friend, Jock Callander, from their days in Cleveland.
“He wished me good luck today and that’s about it,” explained Nabokov. “When we come back we’ll have further conversations.”
Nabokov didn’t leave the awards empty handed. He joined his fellow teammates Joe Thornton
and Brian Campbell as members of the 2007-2008 NHL All Star Team. Nabokov was chosen for the NHL First All-Star Team while Campbell and Thornton were named to the Second All-Star Team. Campbell’s selection was the first of his career.
Voting for the All-Star Team is conducted among representatives of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association at the end of the regular season.