Aug 25, 2013, 12:33 PM EST
When people were projecting that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be terrible in 2013, Sergei Bobrovsky was the factor that was overlooked.
Bobrovsky had a solid rookie season with the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010-11, so even after his rough sophomore campaign, it certainly wasn’t unreasonable to assume that he was capable of being respectable in 2013. But winning the Vezina Trophy?
“Sergei had a great year,” Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards told NHL.com. “He was great himself, but what I think gets lost in the mix is how the guys played in front of him.”
Fair enough, he didn’t single-handily carry the Blue Jackets. Their defensive group is a major strength of this team and one we’ll look into as Blue Jackets day progresses. At the same time, Bobrovsky was the catalyst to their late season surge in 2013 that nearly vaulted them into the playoffs. With a 1.60 GAA and .946 save percentage in the final two months of the season, Bobrovsky posted a 18-5-3 record.
Had another goaltender been between the pipes during that stretch, the Blue Jackets might be pumping up their latest top-five draft pick rather than talking about building off last season’s success. Which begs the question: Can the 24-year-old goaltender do it again this season? Or does that two month stretch represent a hot streak that paid off big because the campaign was shortened?
They don’t need Bobrovsky to win another Vezina Trophy, but it’s fair to say they’ve put a considerable amount of faith in him. The Blue Jackets are projected to enter the season with Curtis McElhinney as their backup goaltender. McElhinney is coming off of a strong season in the minors, but he is 30 years old and has a career 3.10 GAA and .899 save percentage in 69 NHL games.
“He has that quality that [Rangers goaltender Henrik] Lundqvist has, that focus,” teammate Brandon Dubinsky said of Bobrovsky. “He has what it takes to be an elite goaltender; tack on his work ethic on top of that and the sky’s the limit for him.
“Start with a guy like that and you can build a team around it.”
They have done just that, but if Bobrovsky falters as Steve Mason did after his Calder Trophy-winning season, then 2013-14 will be another in a line of heartbreaking seasons for the Blue Jackets.
Dec 11, 2013, 11:28 AM EST
Morgan Rielly to follow?
Dec 11, 2013, 11:15 AM EST
It’s been quite the goalie carousel since 2010.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:59 AM EST
Minnesota has just five wins from 14 games away from Xcel this season.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:45 AM EST
He’d be a huge get for Team Sweden.
Dec 11, 2013, 10:24 AM EST
His job might be safe despite the team’s struggles.
Dec 11, 2013, 9:43 AM EST
Both players might be suspended for their actions last night.
Dec 11, 2013, 9:13 AM EST
This is his third suspension.
Dec 11, 2013, 8:40 AM EST
These two teams have gone on very different paths since the 2010 Stanley Cup Final.
Dec 11, 2013, 8:02 AM EST
Wednesday’s collection of links.
Dec 11, 2013, 1:36 AM EST
They beat the Sharks 3-2 via a shootout.
Dec 11, 2013, 12:25 AM EST
His Bruins beat Calgary 2-1 on Tuesday.
Dec 10, 2013, 11:47 PM EST
Ben Scrivens must feel a little less special.
Dec 10, 2013, 11:14 PM EST
He said this is his worst stretch with the team.
Dec 10, 2013, 10:36 PM EST
Dec 10, 2013, 10:33 PM EST
Nashville ends a five-game skid.
Dec 10, 2013, 10:02 PM EST
Dec 10, 2013, 9:30 PM EST
Alex Ovechkin made the Lightning pay.
Dec 10, 2013, 8:24 PM EST
At least he made it longer than Braden Holtby.
Dec 10, 2013, 8:08 PM EST
Martin Jones and Ben Scrivens are holding down the fort.
Dec 10, 2013, 7:47 PM EST
Mike Green also gets a game misconduct.
- Report: Isles coach Capuano not seen as problem 1
- Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Flyers challenge top-ranked Blackhawks 7
- Update: Ryan Callahan out 4-6 weeks with MCL sprain 9
- Ovechkin wills Caps to stunning shootout win vs. Bolts 60
- Bettman: No decision on expansion, but they’re listening 13
- Neal admits kneeing Marchand was ‘not the smartest decision’ 77
- Leafs captain Phaneuf suspended two games for boarding 37
- Rangers confirm Staal suffered concussion 8
- Winnipeg to get outdoor game; Phoenix wants one 33
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head 156
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (182)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (137)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)