Courtesy: canadacardworldblog.com

Worried About Bob?


Sergei Bobrovsky started out the season on a tear after coming out of nowhere.  He was atop the leaderboards in all major statistics for the first 2 months of the season. In December he came back down to Earth, before regaining form and playing pretty well.  Lately, he’s been up and down, which of course raises questions in this town.

Tim Panaccio believes in going with Bob to start the playoffs because if he falters, Boucher will come in with a good mindset.  He thinks if Bob is relegated to backup duty, and we need him to take over, that he won’t be mentally prepared. I know Panotch is around the guys more, talks to them, gets a feel for their real personality. But he doesn’t speak Russian; I do. When Bob gives an interview, the translators do a very good job of interpreting, but it’s not 100% dead on accurate.

He never makes excuses, never passes the blame, and doesn’t care about hoopla.  His demeanor and outlook are always the same: I want to play, I have to be ready to play whenever the coach asks, and I have to stop everything. He never flips out at players crashing his crease, he never points at his defensemen after a goal when they missed something, he never breaks  his stick in frustration.  He’s not a headcase whose mental state we have to worry about.  Which leaves us with his physical attributes:

He’s given up some soft goals here and there. It happens. Unfortunately, yesterday against the Capitals he gave up 2.5 soft ones all in one game. I say 2.5 because the 3rd goal was deflected, but still went through him, so it’s arguable as to whether he was able to react in time to the change of direction. That’s not the way we would have liked him to follow up a strong performance against Dallas on Saturday. Is it his positioning, is it his vision, is it something else that causes these goals? I think it’s about positioning mostly, which is something he continues to work on.

We all praise his agility and reflexes.  He usually reads plays well and manages to react to almost everything humanly possible. But the soft goals he gives up are the ones headed right at him. He gets into a position to allow a puck to hit him, and somehow things get through. The only way to really fix that is to study tapes, work on angles, and work on his body positioning in reaction to shots coming from different area’s.

So we circle back to the main point: should we be worried? No! Last night was an aberration.  He’s a good, solid goalie that we can rely on. Our defense generally doesn’t hang him, or Boosh, out to dry. On the rare occasion that it happens, he’s adept at making the key saves. And I don’t believe these softies will develop into a trend that will ruin our playoff dreams.

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Tags: Brian Boucher Dallas Stars Goaltending Philadelphia Flyers Playoffs Sergei Bobrovsky Washington Capitals

  • chunky balunky

    I think you’re assessment of Bob and our goalie situation is dead on. That said, I don’t believe he is the guy to be our starter come playoff time as Panotch suggests. Though I definitely expect to see him there in the future. My logic goes like this:

    A) It is not wise to pick your playoff goalie based on who may be the better backup if the starter gets hurt.

    B) Overall, Boosh comes with more experience including his contribution to taking the Flyers to the finals last year.

    C) This particular Flyers team was built to go to finals and win this year. This is why defense support was brought in for an aging Pronger. If this is the Flyers moment to shine, skating in front of a goalie who hasn’t even played one full season (yet alone a playoff game) isn’t a wise strategy in the post season. Go with the level headed guy who understands “get the job done.”

    D) Both goalies have proven that they can be hot or cold. A great amount of their success will have to do with how the team rallies in front of them. I tend to think the guys will play better in front of the goalie who they’ve done it with before and can easily communicate with in the same language.

    • Eugene Markman

      A) Agree. Go with the guy who gives you a better chance, as a starter.
      B) Leighton had no experience and the team went far. Niemi was a rookie last year. Patrick Roy won as a rookie. Experience is overrated.
      C) Partially agree. This kind of goes with Point B. I lean towards Boosh more regarding “get the job done” and taking in the gravity of each game and not letting it overwhelm him.
      D) Players have said a few times that they’re a bit more comfortable with Boosh b/c of the language.

      Another point to make for Boosh is that since he handles the puck better, it aids in our transition game. This will be very valuable in the playoffs when defenses tighten up and you have to attack them every chance you get.

  • chunky balunky

    Yep. I can’t disagree with any of that. I’m overall pretty content with both of our goalies this year. I just hope Lavy (genius that he is) chooses one of them as the guy for the playoffs. I can’t really see how he’d approach it with any kind of switching goalie tactic like he’s been doing all year.