During the 2009-2010 season, goaltending coach Jeff Reese got a ton of credit for the team’s success. We started the year with Ray Emery, and finished it with a rotation of Brian Boucher, Michael Leighton and Johan Backlund. All season long, somebody would get hurt, and another guy would step in. Then he would get hurt, and replaced by the next guy. Throughout this rotation, the Flyers put together a run that saw them go from 14th in the Eastern conference in January, to 2 games short of the Stanley Cup. When the Flyers acquired Leighton out of nowhere, and he just started winning games, Reese got the credit for making various adjustments.
Then comes the 2010-2011 season. Emery is gone, Leighton is injured, and we are left with Boosh and some kid from Russia named Sergei Bobrovsky. The kid named Bob is in net to open the season. And all year long, the team rotates their goalies, and just keeps pounding everyone. Every time head coach Peter Laviolette is asked about his goalies, he says that he talks to Jeff Reese and makes decisions based on his advice. Down the stretch, things unravel and we get bounced in 4 games by the Boston. Of course, the biggest controversy in the playoffs is our goaltending. You don’t need me to rehash the whole goalie carousel. But Lavy told us he was going with his gut, and trying to start the hot goalie. What happened to asking Jeff Reese?
So now, prior to this season, we cleared cap space and acquired Ilya Bryzgalov. We then signed him to a monster deal. Did anybody talk to our goalie coach about this move? Did anyone ask him what he thought of our current guy? Or did we simply go after a guy who was a big name and put up great numbers? So far this season, he’s been less than impressive. He has struggled with deflections, tracking the puck through screens, and has been horrendous in the shootout. Meanwhile, Bob lost the one shootout that he was in this season as well.
The thing about shootouts is, we’ve sucked at them ever since they came into existence. No matter who is in net, we usually tend to lose. Why? The funny thing, is that two years ago when Phoenix came out of nowhere to finish 4th in the West, they did it by taking a lot of games to shootout, and winning them. Bryzgalov lead the league in shootout wins. Last season, he was 9th in shootout wins. So did he just forget how to stop pucks this season? What’s going on with him?
So I have a few questions regarding our goaltending coach:
- Did you suggest that we rotate goalies last year in the playoffs?
- Did you agree that Bobrovsky is not good enough to be a #1 goalie, thus the need for Bryzgalov?
- Why are all of your goalies unprepared for the shootout?
- How much does Lavy listen to him anymore?
- Is his job simply to make sure the netminders are getting enough practice?
- Does he make adjustments anymore?
- Does Bryzgalov listen to him for advice?
To me, it’s a bit alarming that the only positive thing he ever did for us was turn Michael Leighton into a winner for a short period of time. Ever since Reese has been here, our goaltending controversy has not stopped. The man who go so much credit in2010 hasn’t really done all that much to gain praise since.
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