Category Archives: Sergei Bobrovsky

Bobrovsky named November’s top rookie

 

Bobrovsky went 7-2-1, 2.03 GAA, .931 SV% during the month of November. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

It has come to no surprise that the Flyers rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for November.

Bobrovsky posted a 7-1-2 record with a 2.03 average and .931 save percentage. He’s been one of the primary reasons the Flyers have the second most points in the Eastern Conference and are on top of the Atlantic Division with Pittsburgh.

Those numbers and Bobrovsky’s play can partly be credited to Flyers goaltending coach Jeff Reese, who turned the 22-year-old into the confident #1 goalie of the Flyers.

“And if I’m not smiling he’ll go, ‘Jeff, what’s the matter? You OK? Happy, happy?'” Reese said with a grin. “Because it seems like he’s always happy. He’s having the time of his life and he’s an absolute pleasure to work with. He loves to be at the rink and loves to work and that’s exciting for me.”

In the first three or four games this season, it was evident Bobrovsky was still finding himself. But the Flyers kept giving him more starts – six in a row, seven in a row, and so on. Why? Because he got confident. He attacked the puck. He challenged shooters but didn’t go too far. He’s playing like he’s been in the NHL for five seasons.

By playing like this, Bobrovsky is helping his chances of retaining the #1 slot despite the return of the 2010 playoff hero Michael Leighton nearing.

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Leighton to Undergo Back Surgery

Earlier this week as the Flyers set their roster, the team wasn’t sure whether or not to place goalie Michael Leighton on Long Term Injury Reserve (LTIR).  Little did they know, that his bulging disc would turn into a herniated disc and require surgery.  The team announced that Leighton would have surgery Monday, and miss 6-8 weeks.

Michael Leighton will miss 6-8 weeks following back surgery.

But, that wasn’t the only news of the day.  Leighton admitted his back has been bothering him, but didn’t tell the club until it got worse over the summer.  I’m assuming “over the summer” means after he had signed his new two year deal.  Holmgren said yesterday that the Flyers didn’t know about the injury until after the deal was signed.  If he had told the team before signing the deal, the team may have not resigned Leighton, or at the very least the team would have checked his back out to begin with.  But, should have the team checked him out regardless?

This new development comes days after Ian Laperriere admitted he wasn’t honest with the Flyers’ medical staff with his concussion symptoms in order to play in the Stanley Cup Finals.  Leighton says it bothered him during the summer and in training camp, but the preseason game in Toronto (where he was injured) made it flare up worse.

The silver lining is that had the Flyers signed someone like Marty Turco instead of Leighton, rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky would likely be in Adirondack instead of coming off a very good performance in the Flyers’ season opening win in Pittsburgh.

Back injuries are not one to mess with as they can linger throughout the year.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see Leighton missing more than 8 weeks, especially if the Bobrovsky-Brian Boucher tandem are playing well.  As our friend Shawn pointed out, Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin had similar surgery last January, and missed the rest of the regular season (about 3 months).  Is it possible that Bobrovsky staying on the NHL roster had to do with the Flyers believing the Leighton injury was more serious than they first knew, or wasn’t healing (both of which we later found out are true).

It’s entirely possible that Leighton may lose his job if the current tandem are playing well.  At the very least, we’ll have two months of seeing Bobrovsky develop with the Flyers.

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More Ninjury Update

Chris Pronger missed Thursday’s game and will miss tonight’s with St. Louis after missing training camp following knee surgery.  It’s still possible he returns for Monday’s home opener against the Avalanche.  Tim Panaccio reports Pronger will “probably not” play Monday, but will be up to Pronger to return to the lineup when he feels healthy.

Update: Checking in with the Flyers Goalies

Another hockey season is upon us, and yet another season where the Philadelphia Flyers have questions in goal.  The tandem of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher are back for another year after going to the Stanley Cup Finals.  Throughout the system, the Flyers have some promising prospects who may be the future in net.

After being picked up on waivers last season, Michael Leighton got the starting job after Ray Emery and Brian Boucher went down with injuries.  Unfortunately, Leighton was injured in March, and watched Boucher start during the stretch run until he too got hurt in the second round and Leighton started from then all the way through the Cup Finals.  After questions about who the 10-11 Flyers goalies would be, Leighton resigned for a modest 2 year, $3.1 million dollar deal.  Combined with the returning Boucher, it seems that the 1-2 punch would be cemented.  However, Leighton was injured in a preseason game against Toronto, and will miss a month with a herniated disc.  This opens the door for one of the youngsters to step up.

Michael Leighton, while fully functional.

Sergei Bobrovsky was brought over to North America in May after spending the last four years playing in the KHL in Russia.  Bobrovsky got his first taste of NHL action Tuesday night against New Jersey, earning a win after a solid third period and a good shootout performance.  Bobrovsky is most likely slated to play with the AHL Adirondack Phantoms, but that doesn’t stop fans from being excited about the potential the young Russian shows.  He has played in four of the five preseason games so far, and has played extremely well.  Competing with him for the Phantoms starting job will be Johan Backlund, who played 41 games with the Phantoms last year, and got himself into 2 Flyers games (one of which was a playoff game).  Backlund is coming off hip surgery and is still recovering, which may give the edge to Bobrovsky. With Leighton missing a month, one of these guys will be on the Flyers’ roster to start the year, with the other starting in Adirondack.  It may benefit Bobrovsky to start in Adirondack, as he is still getting used to North America, and will get a chance to play.

Two prospects that won’t see NHL action any time soon, but are still on the radar are Nicola Riopel and Joacim Eriksson.  Riopel played a few games with the Phantoms last year before being loaned back to his junior club in Moncton.  While Leightion is out at the NHL level, this gives a Riopel a shot to stay with the Phantoms and get some action with the club.  Eriksson is a interesting name, being a 7th round pick in 2008, and working his way up to be the Flyers’ #1 prospect.  This season, Eriksson will stay overseas with Skelleftea of the Swedish Elite League.

For the past twenty years, the Flyers have had no luck in the goaltending department and it has cost them several times.  Will Leighton return healthy, and will he be the #1 throughout the year? Which goalie will make the opening night roster? Will Bobrovsky continue to be the phenom and swoop in? There are plenty of questions, but one thing is for sure.  One injury allow a guy to be an unlikely hero; we saw it last year.

Note: This was an update based off of the original article, which can be found at Crimespree Hockey.