Tuesday, January 4, 2011

To All the Boosh Haters...

2.33 GAA, .917 SV%, 7-1-1 in last nine starts.

2.57 GAA, .915 SV%, 4-3-2 in last nine starts.

Without looking them up, whose stats are Brian Boucher's and whose are Sergei Bobrovsky's?

The first set of stats belong to the much maligned Boucher and the second to the often heralded Bobrovsky. But even after seeing the stats and watching him play, many still doubt the fact that Boosh can be a legitimate starting goaltender for the Flyers.

Boosh has better GAA (goals against average) than all of the following netminders: Jimmy Howard (DET), Carey Price (MTL), Jonas Hiller (ANA), Roberto Luongo (VAN), Cam Ward (CAR), Heinrik Lundqvist (NYR), Miikka Kiprusoff (CGY), Kari Lehtonen (DAL), Jaroslav Halak (STL), Thomas Vokoun (FLA), Corey Crawford (CHI), Anders Lindback (NSH), Antero Niittymaki (SJS), Michal Neuvirth (WAS), Niklas Backstrom (MIN), Ilya Bryzgalov (PHX), Dwyane Roloson (NYI), J.S. Giguere (TOR), Pascal Leclaire (OTT) and Johan Hedberg (NJD).

It is well known that coach Peter Laviolette plays the hot players and particularly the hot goalie. He did it last year when the recently waived Michael Leighton got on a streak and again last season when Boucher got hot. In the Carolina Hurricanes' 2005 Stanley Cup Championship season, Martin Gerber started 60 games for Laviolette's team. But who won the Con Smythe trophy that year? A man who played only 28 games for the Canes and began the season in the AHL--Cam Ward.

Look back to last season's Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. Their starting goaltender is no longer with the team and is now the backup to Antero Niittymaki in San Jose, Antti Niemi. Niemi got hot last year and rode the streak all the way to a Cup.

It doesn't matter who your goaltender is or what he has done before, as long as he is playing well now and during the playoffs, that's all that matters. Rarely in any other sport does the phrase "What have you done for me lately?" ring as true as it does with NHL goalies.

Many forget that Bobrovsky has only played a maximum of 35 games in one season in his hockey career. He's already at 26 games this season and fatigue may be setting in. So, for now, Brian Boucher is the Flyers' starting goaltender and if he continues to play well, and Laviolette is still the coach, plan on seeing Boosh between the pipes until further notice.

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