Home » More & Less Hockey » Game 3.1: Flyers @ Sabres, April 18, 2011

Game 3.1: Flyers @ Sabres, April 18, 2011

Well that went pretty well. My first order of business has to be noting that Zherdev played, and scored (the GWG no less) and the team didn’t lose.  Obviously they didn’t lose, if it was the GWG, but you know what I mean.  Later Z took a penalty and also sat some extra time as usual, but he got the first part right anyway.

It always seems like the Flyers do a good job of defending their goalie when they are playing well, but last night Boucher was busy.  By the end of the game, the Flyers had been outshot 37-26.  While Boosh let a couple in, he did have to stop more than Miller did.  Maybe the Flyers took away good scoring opportunities or something but I still don’t like that imbalance.  They need to spend a lot less time protecting their goalie, no matter who he is, and a lot more time harassing Miller.

Sure, there were some iffy calls but there were also too many stupid penalties.  The Flyers took eight penalties in total and ended up having to kill a 5 on 3 in the second half of the 3rd.  Can’t be doing that.  I’m sure that has come up in discussion.

Word is that today Bob was the first one on the ice, with goaltending coach Jeff Reese, just like he was last practice.  Also, Boosh and Leights ended up in nets with Bob to the side during the team practice.  This probably means that for game four, it will again be Boosh and Leights.  Much has been made of this sitting Bob.

I agree it is too bad Bob is not up to speed for the playoffs.  But he isn’t and there was little chance he would be.  He isn’t a kid but he is green, and he developed the skills he has mostly in a different hockey environment.  He came to the NHL with a lot of adjusting to do.  He has done a lot already but from rookie out of the KHL to NHL playoff ready goalie there is a lot to cover.  I still think that he will be back later in the playoffs, just as I think the Flyers will make it out of this round.  That is neither baseless hope nor informed opinion.  It’s just gut instinct.

I can fathom it very well.  Laviolette doesn’t handle Bob the way he handles Boosh or Leights.  Bob is a different quantity.  Veterans like Boosh and Leights are beyond the point where a slip up or a calamitous loss will permanently taint their development.  It isn’t that Bob is so fragile of ego or self-confidence or anything.  It’s that he is still developing habits.  Practicing failure will not help his team in the short run, or Bob in the long run.

So if Lavy thinks Bob is getting out of sorts, I can see why he would pull him no matter how far behind the team is.  Letting in three goals on seven shots is a good indication that the goalie is out of sorts.  And I don’t think having Bob act as backup is good either.  If he isn’t ready to start, he probably isn’t ready to jump in cold mid-game.  No need for him to do that, no need at all with Boosh and Leights around.

Should you leave Bob in to see if he can sort it out, bounce back during the game?  Well, sure, if you are leading the standings during the regular season, if you think it will help Bob.  This isn’t the regular season, this is the playoffs.  Every game is critical.  I do wish Bob were succeeding as the starter, but I’m not sorry Boosh and Leights are there and may get to play more.  I like watching them play and I think Bob will be around for a long time to come.


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