Sharks Goaltending: Choose Your Own Adventure

You're the star of the story! Will you win the Cup or miss the playoffs?

Congratulations! You have been put in charge of the goaltending situation for the San Jose Sharks following the 2009-2010 season. Your team had a great year, but it ended in disappointment once again as they lost in the Western Conference Finals to the Blackhawks, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.

#1 - Your first decision - Will you sign Evgeni Nabokov?

If yes, go to #12.

If no, go to #5

#2 - Antero Niittymaki is your man. He's had some success in big games in the past and is a proven NHL goaltender, though he's been streaky at times. Are you sure about this, or should you get someone else just in case?

I'm sure - we're going with Greiss and Nitty. Go to #6.

It couldn't hurt to see if there's anyone else we could get as well. Go to #11.


#3 - Nabokov gets another chance, and he plays well for the bulk of the season. However, once the playoffs begin, he makes a few costly errors and just isn't as good as he needs to be. The ugly pattern of past years repeats itself: the team drops a few games, the Sharks' defense can't cover for Nabokov's mental errors, and the ultimate victory eludes the Sharks once again.



#4 - Maybe you didn't hear me properly. The STANLEY CUP WINNING GOALTENDER from this past season wants to come play for the Sharks. He'll take a one-year deal, so Greiss and the other young guys will still get their shot the following season. Niemi is also pissed at the Blackhawks because he had to take them to arbitration and they still didn't sign him, so he'll be extra motivated to prove himself this season. Are you SURE you don't want this guy?

You're right, I'm sorry, let's sign Niemi. Go to #7.

No, I'm stubborn, I want to keep trying to sign a defenseman instead. Go to #14.


#5 - You do not sign Evgeni Nabokov. What do you do next?

If you go after another goalie, go to #8.

If you give the young goalies the chance to take the lead, go to #10.


#6 - The season is going well, Nitty seems to be rolling, but OH NO - his hip injury flares up and he's sidelined for the remainder of the year. Greiss tries to take over, but he's not an elite goaltender just yet. A painful playoff loss to the Red Wings puts a brutal end to the season.



#7 - It's okay, I forgive you. Go to #9.


#8 - Which goalie would you like the Sharks to sign?

If Antero Niittymaki, go to #2.

If Marty Turco, go to #13.


#9 - The Sharks now have Niemi and Nittymaki, and their goaltending is the envy of the league. The two push each other throughout the season as they battle for the starting job, and since they're both Finnish they get along really well and go in the sauna together and everything. It's beautiful.

Come the trade deadline, the Sharks hold all the goaltending cards. They can trade one of their top guys to add a defenseman or ship off one of the pipeline goalies to a team that's looking towards the future.

I can't say for certain if the team will win it all, since anything can happen along the way - but I know I'm not worrying about our goaltending situation.

Go to #15.


#10 - You let the Sharks' young goalies try to prove themselves and get the number one job. The season has its ups and downs as the young guys adjust to the pressure. The team finishes sixth in the West and has to face the Blackhawks in the first round. With the young goalies seeing their first NHL playoff action, this season ends in a painfully similar fashion to the last one.



#11 - You look to add another goalie to split time with Niittymaki. Most of the big-name goalies that started the summer as free-agents have already been signed. However, Antti Niemi, the Cup-winning goalie that helped beat the Sharks mere months ago, was not resigned by the Blackhawks because they're retarded. Should we sign him for one season for $2 million?

If yes, go to #9.

If no, go to #4.


#12 - You have signed Nabokov for two more years. Unfortunately, once the season begins, it is clear that his best years are behind him. He is still a quality goaltender, but he doesn't have the stamina or speed to steal games for the Sharks. What do you do?

If you start the young goalies more often, go to #10

If you let Nabokov stick it out, go to #3.


#13 -  YOU LOSE.


#14 - There aren't any more good defensemen available, stupid, and now you've waited too long and someone else signed Niemi. Nice job.



#15 - YOU WIN!

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