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Lightning insist they haven’t lost confidence in Nabokov

Tampa Bay Lightning v New Jersey Devils

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 19: Evgeni Nabokov #20 of the Tampa Bay Lightning looks on against the New Jersey Devils during the game at the Prudential Center on December 19, 2014 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

Even though they’ve been leaning toward Andrei Vasilevskiy when Ben Bishop hasn’t been starting lately, the Tampa Bay Lightning say they haven’t lost confidence in veteran backup Evgeni Nabokov, as the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Head coach Jon Cooper said that Vasilevskiy, 20, isn’t going to swipe Nabokov’s gig just yet.

“These aren’t circumstances where Vasilevskiy is coming in to take a job,” Cooper said. “I guess if his play goes above and beyond, we’d have to re-evaluate. But our goal with Vasy is coming and learning the North American league game and you’re learning in the exact league you should be doing it. Three-fourths of our team learned it in that league, as well as their coach, so it’s proven to work.”

Nabokov (pictured) said all the right things about the situation, mentioning that Tampa Bay has handled the situation “the right way.” Naturally, that doesn’t mean that the 39-year-old is enamored with the situation, especially considering his long run of carrying significant NHL workloads each season.

Really, it’s a matter of time, as Nabokov is almost twice as old as his counterpart. The Lightning indicate that the time isn’t now, though.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins