It was an important rivalry game against good competition in a pressurized environment.
And the Flyers goaltender stood tall to prop up his team and also preserve the win.
However, the rarity wasn’t provided by franchise selection and HBO star Ilya Bryzgalov. It was the other Russian, Sergei Bobrovsky, who made 24 saves in Thursday night’s 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center.
With Bobrovsky’s confident outing, his second in a row after earning the 4-1 win in Dallas, the young goalie also handed coach Peter Laviolette some serious roster questions for the highly anticipated Winter Classic game against the New York Rangers on Monday at Citizens Bank Park.
If the Flyers wanted the best chance to win outdoors in front of the nation, they’d buck expectation and select Bobrovsky, the current steadier hand, as their choice between the pipes.
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Easily the most detested, scathed and ridiculed player the Flyers have faced since 2005, Sidney Crosby has played the part of shining white knight to Philadelphia’s dark side bullies with perfection.
With his nice-boy image and his sparkling reputation around the league, the 24-year-old is everything the Flyers aren’t. As the poster-child for the new NHL, he is the Flyers’ antithesis. He is their most recognizable nemesis.
So when the news broke on Monday that Crosby’s concussion symptoms have continued to haunt him and that he might not be cleared to participate by the start of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ training camp, it isn’t just the NHL and the Penguins who should groan, Flyers fans should be there too.
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With the 2011 Winter Classic at Heinz Field between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins less than a day away, hockey fans everywhere prepare themselves to hear the consistent over-fluffing of stars Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, mixed with the forced discussion of what a fierce, and mostly contrived, rivalry the two teams possess with one another.
But as the Pittsburgh Post Gazette found out, despite what the media and league try to strong-arm into the New Year’s Day game, the Penguins’ players know that their animosity with the Capitals takes a backseat to one a little more personal.
“I think Philly will always be No. 1,” said Pittsburgh defenseman Brooks Orpik. “But just from the time I’ve been here, I would say probably Washington and Detroit (are next in line).”
When you think of Philadelphia Phillies ace Roy Halladay, the NHL is likely the last thing that would come to mind. But with a little over a minute left in the Montreal Canadiens – Pittsburgh Penguins game on Saturday night, Habs forward Scott Gomez did his best Halladay impression.
“I just kind of threw it on net at the end and good things happen, I guess,” Gomez said, about his game-winning goal. “Kind of like Doc Halladay, I just threw the 3-2 change-up in there.”
With time running out in the 2-2 contest, Gomez, 30, skated down the wing well into the Penguins’ zone. Gaining the edge just slightly on defenseman Kris Letang, the Alaska-native appeared to have fired off a left-handed a wrister toward MA Fleury. But instead of come off his stick with velocity, the puck simply trickled through the goalie’s pads and in, winning the game for the Canadiens.
Gomez added, “Since it’s the baseball playoffs, I kind of threw a change-up in there.”
Courtesy of Russianhockeyfans.com
The Flyers sure know how to make things interesting.
On Thursday morning, just hours before the team is set to open the season at the Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette informed the media that 22-year-old rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky will make the start for Philadelphia tonight against the Penguins.
Veteran winger Bill Guerin is proof that if you hang around long enough you might just get a shot.
Nearly two weeks after the 39-year-old began on-ice work outs with other Philly veterans at the Virtua Flyers Skatezone in Voorhees, N.J., the Flyers have formally invited Guerin to tryout at their training camp beginning on Sept. 17.
With a number of veteran forwards still dangling precariously in unrestricted free agency, it was guaranteed that many would be invited to try out at training camps around the league.
However, few would have guessed that Bill Guerin would be among them — and that he would seek the Flyers, of all teams, for an audition.
Starting with the Oct. 7 season opener against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the brand new Consol Energy Center, the Flyers will be nationally televised on VERSUS a total of nine times during the 2010-11 season. The Penguins, Rangers, Detroit, Chicago, Washington and Boston will be shown a league-high 11 times.
Beginning in late Jan., NBC will (have the option) to carry the Flyers five times, including three games against the rival Rangers and once hosting the Los Angeles Kings. The Flyers will begin their NBC schedule with a rematch of the 2009-10 Stanley Cup Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 23.
All NBC games listed are soft scheduled around the league so the network can pick the best match up for that particular day.
Last year it was the Stanley Cup, this time — fourth.
One year after predicting that Philadelphia would hoist the Cup, which despite early laughs was strangely on the mark, The Hockey News’ prediction for the 2010-11 season has the Flyers landing fourth in the Eastern Conference.
According to the THN print edition (the online edition is releasing one ranking per day), standing in the way of the Orange and Black is Boston (3rd), Pittsburgh (2nd) and Washington (1st). The rankings would have the Penguins beating the Flyers out for the Atlantic Division title and would set the Flyers up with a first-round playoff rematch against the New Jersey Devils (5th).
The rankings also have the New York Islanders and New York Rangers both missing the playoffs and hanging in lottery draft pick territory.
In the Western Conference, the Vancouver Canucks were selected by THN to win the Cup, followed by San Jose (2nd), Detroit (3rd), Chicago (4th) and Los Angeles (5th).
According to a study by ESPN.com, the Wachovia Center had 15% of its vendors in “critical violation” of the health code in 2009.
“Inspectors found evidence of mouse and fruit fly infestations at one bar location.”
As revolting as that sounds, the home of the Flyers and Philadelphia 76ers ranks as the most compliant professional venue in the state of Pennsylvania and is in the upper echelon of all the arenas graded.