The goaltender. A position that has plagued the Philadelphia Flyers ever since Rox Hextall parted ways with the City of Brotherly Love.
Since Bryzgalov entered the Flyers organization, he has caught a lot of heat from the media and the fans. There are two main reasons as to why Bryzgalov has such a love/hate relationship with the fans of Philly.
In an effort to make room for Bryzgalov, the Flyers parted ways with their captain, Mike Richards and a consistent 40-goal scorer, Jeff Carter. With the open cap space, Bryzgalov received a heavy 9-yr/51 million dollar contract. With that type of money sitting in his pocket, the fans and the media wanted results, and they wanted them fast. Philadelphia cares about one thing: results. If they are not seeing those results whether it be on the ice, the field, the hardwood or the diamond, the fans want blood.
Bryzgalov hasn’t been all bad. Of course there was going to be an adjustment period that he would have to go through in the beginning. He has had moments where he was hot, and then he had his moments where he was certainly cold. It is going to happen from time to time. The problem people are having with Bryzgalov is his inconsistent play. One night Bryzgalov can swallow 30 shots and shutout the opposing team. The next night he is unable to control a rebound and before you know it the score is 4-0. If Bryzgalov wants to have a long run in Philadelphia, he is going to have to put his game as his first priority. Don’t think that just because Bryzgalov signed a long-term deal that Paul Holmgren won’t shop him around. Both Richards and Carter had long term deals signed very recently before the plug was pulled on them.
Bryzgalov also did himself no justice with the HBO crew during the filming of 24/7 Road to the NHL Winter Classic. Instead of focusing on his game, Bryzgalov seemed preoccupied to find the next funny quip to say. His game suffered during the time that the cameras surrounded the team, and one can only guess it was due to cameras being around them all the time.
So what do you do when your number one goalie isn’t living up to the hype? You look towards your backup, who could easily be the starter for the Flyers on a consistent basis. If Bryzgalov isn’t careful, he may lose the starting job permanently.
Bobrovsky has been stellar since joining the Flyers, and is one of the top backups in the league, trailing only Tukka Rask of the Boston Bruins. An undrafted payer, Bobrovsky came over to the Flyers in May of 2010 on a three-year entry level tryout. He was supposed to go to Phantoms, but was so highly skilled that the Flyers kept him up with the professional club. I guess you can say the rest is history.
Bobrovsky is young and skilled and has shown that he can step into the bright lights and make the most of a situation. The Russian goaltender currently sits with a record of 10-3-1 with a GAA of 2.42. Bryzgalov on the other hand is 16-9-3 with a 3.07 GAA. It is a no-brainer to go with the hot hand. Bobrovsky has also played in many big games, picking up wins against teams such as the New York Islanders, Carolina Hurricanes, Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadians, Toronto Maple Leafs and the Ottawa Senators.
When Bryzgalov has been unfit to go, Bobrovsky has stepped in and made it count. You never once saw Bob on the cameras of the HBO show, and it seemed he was ready to go in net whenever he was called upon. That type of mentality could change him from the backup to the starter permanently in any organization.
I don’t see a goalie controversy in all this mess because the two should use all their skills to be feeding off one another. For the time, Bryzgalov should be trying his best in practice day in and day out to try to win back his starting spot for the long-term. Bobrovsky on the other hand should be going hard every practice and every game, doing whatever he can in his power to keep himself pegged as the number one goalie. There’s no goalie controversy here, just strong competition. The only reason that a controversy was brought up was when Bryzgalov decided to speak to the media. His words made the media assume there was a rift between the two goalies. However, both goalies are very good friends. Bryzgalov constantly roots on Bobrovsky and they support each other through it all. So let’s throw out that word “controversy” this season.
If Bryzgalov wants his job back he is going to have to show Head Coach Peter Laviolette that he can be great, not good. If Bobrovsky wants to stay in the limelight, he will have to continue to do what he has been doing of late; stopping pucks, swallowing rebounds, coming up big and winning games.
Bryzgalov has been given the start tonight against the Nashville Predators after sitting for two games. Could this be the start of the turnaround for Bryzgalov, or will his inconsistencies rear their ugly head again?
So in the wake of all this news, I ask you, “Controversy? What controversy?”
JVR out indefinitely: It seems that for at the time Flyers fans can dismiss all the trade rumors surrounding James van Riemsdyk and Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Luke Schenn. It has been announced today that JVR is out indefinitely with a concussion. The incident is assumed to have occurred three games ago when JVR took an elbow from the Senators Bobby Butler. JVR played a little over 10 minutes in a win 3-2 win over the Islanders on Jan 12.
Sam Carchidi reports that JVR is the fifth Flyer to be diagnosed with a concussion. The others include Chris Pronger, Matt Read, Brayden Schenn and Claude Giroux.