Bob's Still On The Orange Payroll? Practical Game Plans Must Follow
People such as myself have mentioned that Bobrovsky holds decent trade value, but thankfully I am not general manager of the Broad Street Bullies. In hindsight (and after reading Ryan's opinionated piece), keeping Sergei around as second fiddle to Ilya Bryzgalov seems like the more sensible thing to do for the long haul.
There's no question that Bryz is a work horse and can start 70 games out of the regular season's 82, and be quite effective. In fact, Ilya even said it himself. But is it worth risking the chance of weathering his durability which could ultimately spell a melt down come post season?
I may be getting ahead of myself by talking playoffs already, especially since the biggest question mark looms over the chemistry this latest roster hasn't even been given a chance to grow yet. But for the sake of argument, let's say this current Flyers squad does get its chance to compete for the Big Dance.
Prior to entering the post-season, it'd be very smart of the bench bossing crew to confine Bryzgalov's starts between the metal pillars for a combination of reasons;
The biggest justification would be Bryzgalov's durability. We all know B-Rizz (I swear I won't ever call him that again) is one of the best active puck stoppers in the league, but we want to make sure he remains at that level come Playoff time, both physically and mentally. So where's our secret weapon that aids our Flyers into succeeding this goal?
Enter Sergei Bobrovsky.
Unless Paul Holmgren pulls the carpet out from under Flyers nation one more time before this league year, I'm pretty sure Bob's our back-up.
Allow me to get this out of the way now; Sergei Bobrovsky is no fluke. He's the real deal. And considering his young age, he's got plenty of time to strengthen his play in net. Last season he ended with a .915 SV% and 2.59 GAA in 54 games played.
Now consider this; those admirable stats were put up by a rookie. A rookie playing in his first season of North American style hockey. And on top of that....his first time playing in that many games in one season.
Before calling Philadelphia his second home, Bob dressed in the KHL but never played anymore than 30 or so games in a schedule. Throughout last year's NHL season, I would NOT shut up about how dumb it was starting Sergei so many consecutive games.
The kid's good, but he got tired. He is human afterall.
Same goes for Bryzgalov. Though Ilya's longevity is much more of a proven asset than it is to Bobrovsky, having these two padded minions under Laviolette's rule is like holding two Aces in a card game; figuring out when to use them strategically and successfully is the name of the game.
Take a look at the Coyotes. Yes they got swept by the Wings in the SemiFinals with Bryzgalov in net back in May, but Phoenix never had a second goalie like Bobrovsky in their twined turnstyle. Because of that, Bryzgalov took on the role as the work horse, and as a result of that and subpar defense, Ilya and his 'Yotes fell victim to an early exit.
Now that we employ the two Russians, we could limit Bryzgalov's starts in net to save his stamina for the post season, while giving 25 - 30 games to Sergei.
Bob's starts would still give him his chances to progress his game AND giftwrap the slack I believe Bryzgalov needs to remain his brilliant, talented self when it counts the most.