December 4th, 2009, 1:41 pm
In this corner, weighing in at 6 feet and 205 pounds, the ever testy, the outspoken, the King of the Shootout (Not), Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov.
In this corner, coming in at a stout 6 ft, 1 inches and 200 pounds, the Dill of Defense, the Relish in your Roulade, Marc-Edouard “Why Didn’t You Block That Shot” Vlasic.
In case you didn’t catch the postgame buzz, Nabby was none too pleased that Pickles didn’t block that shot at the end of the Sharks 3-2 shootout loss to St. Louis last night. Vlasic’s point, which is well taken, is that there were five guys who dropped the ball (or puck) at the end last night, and six if you include Nabby.
So, what do you think of the Sharks version of “The Blame Game”? Personally, I LOVE IT!
Why, you ask? Because it means these guys care. Haven’t we been asking for this? When was the last time we had guys calling each other out? Forcing others to take accountability? This team has been far too private and too laid-back for too long, and last night’s meltdown deserved Nabby’s quote-tastic response. The Sharks should be mad they choked that game away and it might inspire Vlasic, or Huskins, or anyone to do anything possible to win a game – which was not the attitude for the final minute of regulation last night. This team has been remade to win in the playoffs and if someone needs to be called out to pick up his effort, then so be it. Perhaps it is a little bit unfair to blast Vlasic for not blocking a shot, after all with 52 blocks he is tied for 20th in the entire NHL – so it’s not like he’s not willing to go there – but if the knock on Vlasic has ever been anything, it’s been a lack of intensity and flair for the big play. Blocking that shot would have been the big play.
So get amped up guys. You have a big contest with Calgary on Saturday night and you’ve got to bring the fire and then some. I like a little infighting from time to time. After all, we’ve seen what the Sharks “We’ll get them next time, boys” motto got us last year? Nabby’s comments might inspire Vlasic to throw himself in front of anything, if it means winning a Cup.