We're a little more than one-sixth of the way through the shortened 2012-13 season, and the Islanders coaching staff has made one thing very clear: This season will rise or fall on the shoulders of goalie Evgeni Nabokov.
The reason is also pretty clear: They don't have a choice. When the only other option on your roster is the skull-capped likeness to the Christian savior, you can't blame Jack Capuano and crew for trying to ride Nabokov.
The question that arises is can it be done successfully? Nabokov has played, and started, 88.8888888888888888888% of the Islanders' games so far this season (for the rest of the piece I will be rounding up to 89% for my 8 key's sake). That's a lot to ask of a 37-year-old goalie.
In the past three seasons, only six goalies have played in 89% of their team's games. Five of them were well under 37 years of age. The only one that was 37 was Martin Brodeur in 2009-10. In fact, in that season Brodeur became the only goalie 37 years or older in the past 30 years to play in 89% of his team's games (it could be longer, but I stopped searching after 1982-83).
Can the Islanders Rely This Heavily on Evgeni Nabokov?
Lighthouse Hockey | Feb 6