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San Jose Sharks Re-Sign Nabokov

October 22, 2002

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) _ Goalie Evgeni Nabokov agreed to a two-year contract with the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday, ending his holdout after five games.

Nabokov, the Sharks’ career victories leader with 71 over his first two NHL seasons, sat out all of training camp while seeking a dramatic increase from the $575,000 he earned last season. Financial terms of his new deal weren’t immediately disclosed.

Without him, the Sharks have struggled to a 1-4 start. Nabokov’s backups, Miikka Kiprusoff and Vesa Toskala, have a combined 4.77 goals-against average, which ranks next-to-last in the NHL.

Nabokov, who is from Kazakstan, won the Calder Trophy in 2001 as the NHL’s rookie of the year.

He was third in the league last season with 37 victories and finished fourth in voting for the Vezina Trophy. He had seven shutouts _ tied for second-most in the league _ while helping the Sharks win their first Pacific Division title and reach the Western Conference semifinals.

The 27-year-old Nabokov had a 2.20 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage last season.

Nabokov skated on the Sharks’ practice rink and worked with goaltending coach Warren Strelow during training camp, but the holdout grew increasingly combative in recent weeks. Nabokov’s agent even intimated that the goalie might go to Russia if a deal weren’t reached soon.

The Sharks begin a six-game road trip in Nashville on Thursday.

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