Where are the Sharks without Niemi?
Evgeni Nabokov posted a 4.16 GAA over three games for the 2010 Russian Olympic team. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
Former Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov will not be content to be a spectator this winter when the Olympics take over his native country of Russia.
He will also not be content to be relegated to a backup position on team Russia behind Sergei Bobrovsky and Semyon Varlomov.
[RELATED: Team USA reveals 2014 Olympic hockey jerseys]
“I do not understand why everyone considers me a reserve player,” Nabokov told NHL.com. “We have a coaching staff, and none of them has said anything about who will be the first goaltender and who will be the second or third.
"I am happy to be on the national team, and that is enough.”
Nabokov was part of the 2006 and 2010 Russian Olympic hockey teams says that he wants to help bring the gold medal to Russia in 2014.
If he wants the starting job, he'll be up against some pretty stiff competition.
Bobrovsky is coming off a Vezina winning year in which he posted a 2.00 GAA and almost led the Columbus Blue Jackets to the postseason.
Also counting against Nabokov is his performance for team Russia back in the 2010 games, when he posted a 4.16 GAA over three games and got the hook in a 7-3 quarterfinal loss to eventual champions team Canada.
Is Nabokov starting goaltender material for the Olympic team with much younger options for team Russia?