Brian Boucher: A Whirlwind of a Career
Brian Boucher, known as "Boosh" by Flyers fans, has been one of the most interesting stories in Flyers history. Boucher was drafted in 1995 by the Flyers but didn't see action until the 1999-2000 season. After John Vanbiesbrouck began to struggle during the season, Boucher got more and more starts. Which eventually turned into one of the best rookie seasons by a Flyers goalie. Boucher posted a 1.91 Goals Against Average and recorded 20 wins for the Flyers. His success didn't stop there, Boucher was incredible during the playoffs, including the outstanding performence against the Pittsburgh Penguins, stopping 57 of 58 shots as the Flyers won in the fith overtime 2-1 on a goal by Keith Primeau. The great moments didn't stop there, after dispatching of Buffalo and Pittsburgh the Flyers faced off against another rival, the New Jersey Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals. In game 3 Boucher made one of the greatest saves ever, in my eyes. Patrik Elias steamrolled in on a breakaway against Boucher, who fell back and dove across to make a sparkling save with his glove, Boucher's mask even came off during the play. It looked as though Boucher would join goalies such as Ron Hextall, Patrick Roy, Ken Dryden, and Pete Peters as rookie goalies to lead their team to the Stanley Cup Finals. Then, everything fell apart, Boucher allowed 4 goals in game 5, but was still incredible during that series. One of the things that maybe could have affected that series, Eric Lindros. Lindros came back for game 6, scored a goal, but the Flyers lost. Game 7 in Philly was set, the First Union Center, it's name at the time, was rocking, then Scott Stevens gave Lindros another concussion with a booming hit, the crowd was completely silent. With little time left in the 3rd, Elias scored and made it 2-1. The Devils would hang on to win the series and later go on to win the cup. Even with the heartbreaking loss, It seemed as though the Flyers had their goalie situation figured out, well at least it looked that way. Boucher struggled though in the 00-01 season. He lost his starting job to Roman Chechmanek, Boucher would perform well in the 01-02 season but it didn't matter. He even started the pivotal game 5 against Ottawa which the Flyers lost 2-1. Boucher was then traded to the Phoenix Coyotes, Boosh actually set the record for the most consecutive shutouts with 5 as a Yote. But that was pretty much it, the Yotes were never good enough to contend for a playoff spot, and Boucher was then was shipped from team to team, the Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Philadelphia/Adirondack Phantoms had Boosh's services. Boucher then seemed to find a role with the San Jose Sharks becoming the steady backup for Evgeni Nabakov, Boosh had a great GAA and a good save % for the Sharks in 08-09 with a 2.18 and a .917%. Then came the reunion, the Flyers signed Boucher in the 2009 offseason to be the backup for Ray Emery. Emery would be plagued by injuries and Boucher got some time but struggled and then went down with injuries, after newly aquired Michael Leighton got hurt late in the year, Boucher played great for the Flyers down the stretch and the Flyers came back on the last day of the season to make the playoffs. Boucher stopped Oli Jokinen in the shootout to send the Flyers to the playoffs, then did a "dance" that will live on in every Flyers fans' mind. Boosh then went on to play great against the Devils in the 1st round of the playoffs, 10 years later, he got it done. Boucher though got hurt in game 5 against Boston in the Semi-Finals which would keep him out till the Stanley Cup Finals against the Blackhawks where he only saw time when Leighton got pulled twice. Boucher came into 10-11 looking like he'd be the starter, then coach Peter Laviolette decided to start rookie Sergei Bobrovsky and keep him as the starter. Boucher has played great this year though as backup, he won 18 games and had a 2.42 GAA. When Bobrovsky struggled in game 2, Boucher came in and shut the door on the Sabres as the Flyers came back to win game 2. Boucher was named starter for game 3 and shut down Buffalo in games 3 and 4. In game 5 though, Boosh struggled, giving up 2 early soft goals and then a 3rd one and in came Leighton. Leighton started game 6 but had a similar performence to Boucher in game 5 giving up early soft goals. Boucher came in again and played great as the Flyers won in OT. In game 7 Boucher was dazzling, only allowing 2 goals as the Flyers won game 7, and hence the series. Boosh is the starter for the Boston series starting Saturday, the long journey of Boosh has had its ups and downs. What a career for one of the classiest players in the game today. BOOOOOOOSSSSSHHHH!