They call him “Bob.”
That’s the nickname Flyers fans have given their rookie netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky, after getting to know him early on in the 2010-11 season. Since Sabres fans are due to see him at least four times in the near future, it’s time for Buffalo to learn who this kid is.
From the Philadelphia Courier Post:
“Flyers coach Peter Laviolette made it crystal clear today that rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will be his playoff starter and Brian Boucher will be his backup when the post-season begins next week. This comes on the heels of Michael Leighton clearing recall waivers and joining the Flyers. Leighton will practice with the club Thursday.
‘Our playoff starters are set. In Game One, Bob’s going to start and Boosh (Boucher) will back up. They’ve been great all year. They’ve been terrific.’ “
“Bob” entered the league this season as an undrafted rookie. Philly GM Paul Holmgren has said that the Flyers considered drafting him in 2006, but opted not to due to the difficulty and uncertainty over signing Russian players at the time. He signed a 3 year entry level contract with Philadelphia on May 6, after playing his first 4 professional seasons with Metallurg Novokuznetsk in the KHL.
He skipped the AHL, after an impressive show in training camp where he usurped starter Michael Leighton. At 22 years and 17 days, he became the youngest goaltender to win a season opening game for the Flyers since Ron Hextall, who did the same at 22 years and 159 days old. He was the first star of the game in the debut.
Since then, Bobrovsky has posted a 28-13-7 record, with a 2.51 GAA and .917 save percentage.
Though posting strong stats throughout the year, he has stumbled a bit coming into the postseason. Bobrovsky managed save percentages of only .886, .862 and .700 in his last three games, and was given the yank by coach Laviolette in his final game.
Here is a nice little run-down on his game by The Goalie Guild, after he and the Flyers were defeated by the Washington Capitals:
“His strengths in regards to foot speed and tracking ability were on display nightly and many teams have not yet realized that they have to do everything they can to shoot high on him in order to score.
In last night’s loss against the Capitals, two of the three goals he allowed were right over his glove and left shoulder. As I have been saying since training camp, this is his biggest area of weakness. Because of this, be aware of it on a nightly basis.”
So there it is. Sabres fans, meet Bob. Bob, Sabres fans. You will learn to quickly hate each other before this series is over.
Now that we’re acquainted, we can look forward to hearing a heckling chant of “Booooooob” from the upper deck of the HSBC arena.
Shoot high, boys!