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Sergei Bobrovsky discusses playoff struggles, addition of Ilya Bryzgalov

Aug 23, 2011, 11:04 PM EDT

Sergei Bobrovsky AP

It’s tough to tell how Sergei Bobrovsky should feel this summer.

On one hand, the Russian goalie would be justified in feeling a bit slighted. Bobrovsky burst onto the scene for the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2010-11 season, earning a strong 28-13-8 record with a solid .915 save percentage and 2.59 GAA, but the team gave him a short leash in the playoffs. After losing Game 1 of the Flyers’ first round series against the Buffalo Sabres thanks to Ryan Miller‘s brilliance, Bobrovsky had an awful Game 2 in which he allowed three goals on just seven shots. It’s understandable that the Flyers decided to go with Brian Boucher for Game 3, but it seemed a bit harsh to demote Bobrovsky all the way down to third place on the depth chart. Bobrovsky eventually started in the playoffs again, but the Flyers dug themselves too deep a hole to come back against the Boston Bruins at that point.

If that wasn’t enough to leave “Bob” with a bad taste in his mouth during the off-season, the Flyers gave their No.1 goalie keys to Ilya Bryzgalov by trading for him and them handing the more-proven Russian netminder a risky, long-term deal.

That would seem like a slap in the face to some, but others might take a bigger picture viewpoint that Bobrovsky could actually be in the right place in his young career. His rookie season was impressive, but it also seemed like he jumped quite a few steps in his expected development process. Backing up Bryzgalov – or fighting him for starts, depending on how you look at it – might end up being a short-term benefit to Bobrovsky.

It seems like that perspective isn’t lost on Bob, who had an interesting discussion that Dmitry Chensokov translated for Puck Daddy on Tuesday.

And this summer the Flyers signed a contract with Ilya Bryzgalov placing a barrier on the way of a rookie Sergei Bobrovsky.

Actually Bryzgalov’s arrival didn’t shock me. Every newspaper wrote that goaltending is Philadelphia’s weakest spot. Additionally, Ilya was first traded to us and only a week later he signed his contract. It wasn’t a surprise.

I don’t agree about the barrier. Brian Boucher’s(notes) contract expired. Michael Leighton(notes) stayed. Bryzgalov came. But I don’t care what last names team goaltenders have. I have my own goals, objectives. I want to help Philadelphia and will continue to improve my game.

Bobrovsky’s saying all the right things about his situation with Philadelphia. While it’s possible that he might find himself in a different destination at some point in the future thanks to the cost of his entry-level contract and the even larger commitment the Flyers made to Breezy, Philly would be wise to keep Bob in the fold as an insurance policy. Other NHL teams have benefited from having a strong backup behind a franchise starter; Tuukka Rask and Cory Schneider provided valuable rest for Tim Thomas and Roberto Luongo last season (just to name two).

Moving on, the other interesting nugget reveals that you might be able to pinpoint at least some of Bobrovsky’s late-season and playoff struggles to fatigue.

The fact that you deflated in the second half of last season — is it connected to the fact that you “had had too much hockey?”

I think so. It turned out that by November I had been playing hockey for five months. And then the rollercoaster started: up and down. But I am not going to look for excuses for my shortcomings. This is my life and I set up the preparations myself. And I alone am responsible. I simply came to some conclusions and this summer I decided to make some changes.

If you ask me, the Flyers mishandled Bobrovsky’s situation in the playoffs, taking excessively punitive measures with a goalie who helped them win the Atlantic Division. That being said, this situation might end up being beneficial to both sides, even if Bob probably wants to be the No. 1 goalie next season.

You never know if public statements actually match deeper feelings, but if his statements are truthful, then it seems like Bobrovsky has a healthy attitude about a tough situation. If nothing else, these signs of maturity might justify the Flyers’ thoughts that he could be their goalie of the future.

  1. sfbookreviews - Aug 23, 2011 at 11:25 PM

    As much as I despise the Flyers, Bob seems okay to me. Hopefully someday he’ll escape that pit of douchebaggery that is the Flyers organization so I can root for him to succeed.

  2. icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 23, 2011 at 11:39 PM

    Bob is the man. But he seemed to have problems ‘finding the puck.’ There is no denying his talent. But Ed Snider wants to win the Cup now. Patience is a virtue. But the Flyers haven’t hoisted the Cup since ’75. Based on what we have seen, Bob should be a stud. The question that remains to be answered is when he will reach stud level and stay there.

    • kellyb9 - Aug 24, 2011 at 10:41 AM

      Ed Snider may want to win the cup now, but his moves in the offseason indicate he has no interest in winning the cup anytime soon. I’m a huge Flyer fan, and I’ll admit Bryzgalov is a huge upgrade, but Jagr is ancient. And they traded away two core players and received prospects in return. Maybe some of the young guys will step up and they’ll make a run, but it doesn’t look good on paper to me.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 24, 2011 at 12:36 PM

        Yea but those core players weren’t taking us anywhere. You don’t trade away your Captain and Assistant (why Carter was one, I’ll never know) unless there is something(s) that suggest that they are a lost cause. Remember that. People don’t look at it from that POV. Ed Snider knows more than us fans do. There were things that were going on that we may never know of. And of course Richards will deny it. Those two moves were forced moves based on the attitudes of our so-called leaders. I can’t say we are any closer to a Cup, but I applaud the Flyers for admitting that they made a mistake and are willing to make a change for the betterment of the organization. Only if other teams in the city would follow that example.

  3. capsrockva - Aug 24, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    I don’t think he be the number 1 guy based on Broz’s contract

  4. trigzter - Aug 24, 2011 at 11:32 AM

    29-13-8 really isn’t that impressive. It’s essentially 29-21, so he won slightly less than 3/5ths of his games.

    • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 24, 2011 at 12:31 PM

      It’s not essentially 29-21. Those 8 OTLs equate to 8 points. And I’m pretty sure the Flyers had to go to a tie-breaker to win the ATL division over the Pens. We don’t get those 8 points, we end up 5th in the conference instead of 2nd. That’s just a little bit of difference wouldn’t ya say? Don’t twist the facts my dude.

      • trigzter - Aug 24, 2011 at 9:21 PM

        its more like, those eight game that we got to overtime, we were going to get the 1 point regardless. its 8 times that he could not get the 2nd point

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 24, 2011 at 9:32 PM

        What are you talking about? Bob’s 13 reg. losses = 0 pts. The 8 OTLs = 8 pts. The difference is the point. You can’t lump RLs and OTLs together because of the point difference.

      • trigzter - Aug 24, 2011 at 9:47 PM

        im saying that bob might not have necessarily done anything to get into overtime. but since, he did get into OT, he got a point for free. Thats cool, but then he went on to lose 8 of them. So if you were to ask your buddy, oh did the flyers win last night, and they lost 2-1 in OT, you would say they LOST the game. Hence why I lump them together. the main point is that he got 8 points just for being in OT, and he left 8 on the table by losing, and gave the extra points to other teams.

      • icelovinbrotha215 - Aug 24, 2011 at 10:55 PM

        I forgot. Bob was the only one on the ice when they lost. Makes sense my dude. Keep up the great analytic work. There is a reason why Richards and Carter got traded. The whole team shut it down after the All-Star break. Anyone who watch the Flyers knows that. To blame only Bob for getting ‘free points’ (never knew there was such a thing in the NHL) is asinine. Either way, Bryz is the starter now. Bob has a chance to develop.

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