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What About Bob? Flyers goalie Bobrovsky continues to provide answers

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Sometimes the best moves are made when nobody is paying any attention."Five Hole" logo by Matt Schetter.

That’s precisely what happened on May 6, 2010 when Flyers General Manager Paul Holmgren signed young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky to a three-year entry level contract. On this day, the Flyers were smack in the middle of their long Stanley Cup playoff run. At the time, though, they faced a seemingly impossible uphill battle down three games to none in their series with the Boston Bruins.

We all know now that the hill was steep, but not impossible to climb. The next day, the Flyers beat the Bruins in overtime to stay alive. A week later they capped off the most miraculous and inspired comeback in team history, if not the city’s sports history.

As Friday May 14th drew to a close, the Philadelphia area was buzzing with enthusiasm for its hockey team. People danced in the streets and celebrated an unforgettable and timeless victory. There was not a soul in the Philadelphia area who could have possibly realized how much brighter the future had just gotten for the Flyers.

Frankly, no one would have cared.

Fast forward to now. Following a heartbreaking loss in the Stanley Cup finals, the Flyers re-signed goalie Michael Leighton during the summer and it appeared the short-term future in goal was no different than at season’s end. But the kid they call “Bob” was lurking, ready to make his mark and prove his worth as an NHL goaltender.

Bobrovsky opened many eyes during this season’s training camp and pre-season, earning himself familiarity with the fans and inexplicably causing people to ask the question “What About Bob”? After Leighton injured his back, requiring surgery, the door was opened for “Bob” and the question was officially answered. He started in goal as the Flyers opened the season in Pittsburgh  against the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. Bobrovsky was not fazed in the least as he stood tall and earned the first win in the Penguins new igloo.

The young, agile Russian netminder has been nothing short of impressive and electrifying early on in this young season. He is quick, composed, athletic, and hungry to succeed. He is not yet worthy of being anointed as the next Pelle Lindbergh, but he certainly looks to have the skill set to continue his early season success for many years.

Bobrovsky has been a difference maker thus far and has earned great praise from many of his teammates, including veteran defenseman Chris Pronger. He has helped to propel the Flyers to an early share of the Eastern Conference lead with a 9-4-2 record and 20 points.

It is very clear right about now. The reality of the situation is as follows: What about Leighton? What about Boosh?

What about Bob, you still ask? That questioned is being answered before our very eyes. This time we are all paying close attention.

Outside the Zone…

I was very pleased to hear that the Flyers have extended Claude Giroux to a three year, $11.25 million contract. The $3.75 million salary cap hit per year is a great example of maximizing value on the part of Holmgren.

Plain and simple, Giroux has been the Flyers best and most consistent player this season. He leads the team in goals and points and he provides a flash and finesse that is both effective and fun to watch. Giroux continues to rapidly improve and looks to be fulfilling the promise demonstrated in his flashes of brilliance for the past couple seasons. If he keeps improving at his current pace, young Claude will be a star by the time this contract ends.

This deal promises to be well below market value for a player that should help solidify a core that should keep the Flyers a contender for the next few years, along with Pronger, Mike Richards, Daniel Briere, and now perhaps Sergei Bobrovsky.

Good job, Mr. Holmgren. The kid has special hands. They deserved a little cash to count.

Until next time…stay cool….

Contact Ryan Downs at rdowns@philly2philly.com

Picture courtesy of www.broadstreetscoop.wordpress.com