Tag:Sergei Bobrovsky
Posted on: October 28, 2011 1:31 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 11:04 am
 

Weekend Preview: Rangers get MSG debut do-over

By Brian Stubits

The refurbished Madison Square Garden finally hosted a Rangers game on Thursday night, and it wasn't enough like old times for the fans. And I'm not talking about the $9.50 domestic beers.

No, the fans in attendance were longing for the old MSG, where Sean Avery delighted them on the ice. OK, maybe they were just longing for Avery.

There was also a banner hanging from the upper level earlier in the game in support of Avery. Mysteriously, it was gone later in the game. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say the fan didn't have a change of heart midway through the game and took it down him/herself.

The case of Avery is an odd one. He is a player that all the teams in the NHL apparently don't want to touch with a 10-foot pole, including the Rangers, who sent him to the AHL's Connecticut Whale. If you ask 100 people to describe Avery the player in one word, the most flattering response you would receive is "agitator."

He's like a member of the Rangers family. Johnny Ranger fan can insult him all day long, just like I can call my brother a jerk (hypothetically, of course). But don't you even dare to call my brother a jerk. It's in the same vain. Avery might just be an ineffective player whose only role it seems is to piss opponents off, but he's THEIR ineffective player whose only role it seems is to piss opponents off. He's a fan favorite. His antics have gone over well in New York, clearly.

But honestly, this wouldn't be that big of a deal if the Rangers were playing better, specifically Avery's replacement, Kris Newbury. Sure, they are 3-3-2, but it has been less-than inspiring. This is a team that had a lot of hype after an offseason that saw them catch the biggest fish swimming in the free-agent lake. The combination of Brad Richards with Marian Gaborik would be gold, I tell you, gold. The Blueshirts would finally be able to give Henrik Lundqvist the kind of scoring support to show he is a Vezina-quality goaltender.

Well, it hasn't happened yet -- the scoring, not Lundqvist showing he is Vezina-quality. The Rangers offense has scored 16 goals in eight games. Even the mathematically challenged should easily recognize that as two goals per game, not very impressive.

“I’ve known [Gaborik] for a month now,” Richards said. “It would be great if we’d come in here and click perfectly. Realistically, we have some work to do, and we’ve got to get to know each other on the ice. We’re both used to having the puck. That’s a work in progress, for sure.”

“It’s no secret that we have to put more pucks in the net,” Ryan Callahan said after Thursday's game.

This has coach John Tortorella tweaking the lines, trying to find the right combinations. The pairing of Gaborik and Richards just hasn't produced yet the way they hoped. Gaborik was practicing on Friday with Wotjek Wolski and Erik Christensen on one line while Richards was with Brandon Dubinsky and Callahan on another.

It's under that backdrop that the Rangers welcome the Ottawa Senators to new-look MSG on Saturday. You know the Senators, the team most everybody saw as being the worst in the Eastern Conference this year but has surprised the masses by winning four games in a row? The plus side is that the Senators could be the team to jumpstart the typically sluggish Rangers offense. Ottawa has surrendered a league-high 39 goals in 10 games.

Let's look at that game as a second chance to make a first impression at home.

Scorer's delight

Speaking of that Rangers season debut at MSG, it was the Toronto Maple Leafs who spoiled the party with a 4-2 win in New York. With the victory they remained one of the surprising starters of the season, improving to 6-2-1.

But I pose this question: What's more surprising, Toronto starting so well thanks to Phil Kessel's nine goals, or Penguins forward James Neal being tied with Kessel for the league lead in goals scored? We'll have a chance to see them at the same time on Saturday when the Penguins visit the Leafs.

Normally, hearing that a Pittsburgh Penguins player leads the league in scoring doesn't come as a surprise. Rather, it is expected. But that's expected from guys named Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, not James Neal.

Which brings me to that trade from last February when the Penguins acquired Neal. Talk about one of those trades where both sides win. Well, let me rephrase; a trade where it looks like both sides came out well. I caution against calling winner and losers in a trade so soon. But Neal has obviously been producing for Pittsburgh as he seems capable of not only reaching his career-high 27 goals he had in 2009-10, but surpassing it. On the other end, Matt Niskanen and Alex Goligoski, while having very cool surnames, have both been good fits in Pittsburgh and Dallas.

As for the Leafs' sharpshooter Kessel? Well this is what they hoped for when Brian Burke made that trade a couple of years ago. Just for fun, I'd like to point out that Kessel is on pace for an 81-goal, 144-point season and a plus-45 at this time.

Big Z, Max meet ... again

Zdeno Chara and the Boston Bruins will be in Montreal on Saturday to pay a visit to the Canadiens. Obviously it's an anticipated reunion for some folks who are into that sort of thing.

Chara has already been back to Habs Town since his hit on Max Pacioretty late last season, the Bruins had to go through the Habs on their way to the Stanley Cup. But it will mark the first time Chara has faced Pacioretty in Montreal. OK, OK, we're stretching a bit. The Canadiens just beat the B's Thursday in Boston, so let's just say this one is about the game, shall we?

These are two struggling teams. Montreal got off to such a bad start, it was their worst in 70 years! It led to the firing of assistant coach Perry Pearn and since then, the Habs have reeled off two in a row, including one over the Bruins. Not that that had much if anything to do with Pearn's dismissal, but at least the Habs are showing signs of getting out of the early season doldrums.

For Boston, they have struggled too, although much more quietly. Interesting considering they are the defending champs and all. In a way this might have been expected. You hear all the time about the dreaded hangover, and that might be in play here. Either way, the Bruins are struggling to score.

The game is just like any other in an 82-game season, but this will quietly be an important one. These teams both want to get on track and in the Boston's case, a home-and-home sweep at the hands of the hated Habs wouldn't help in that regard. But for Montreal, it could help forgive much of the early struggles.

Best games, on paper

Entering the season, these two games appeared to be monster October showdowns: The Sharks visiting the Red Wings on Friday then the Capitals taking on the Canucks in Vancouver on Saturday. If you had to pick five preseason favorites to win the Stanley Cup, there's a good chance three or maybe all four of these teams would make that list.

The Sharks have been somewhat slow to start themselves, but seem to have flipped the switch and won three games in a row, all on the road. The Red Wings, on the other hand, began like gangbusters, but have since lost two games to the Caps and previously winless Blue Jackets. However these two are still titans and will be in the Western hunt all year and just might have another playoff battle lined up. (You might remember they played a great seven-game series last season.)

As for Capitals-Canucks? Well one team has played like a Cup contender and the other, well, the Cup contention seems like a long time ago now. Washington finally took its first loss in Edmonton on Thursday night after getting off to a franchise-record 7-0-0 start. Tomas Vokoun has been spectacular. If there has been anything to complain about up to this point, it's nitpicking.

Vancouver meanwhile has a hot mess of a goaltending situation at the moment. Starter Roberto Luongo is more than a hot topic in the city, a lot of the fans want him gone and would like to see Cory Schneider play. A victory over the Capitals, while not incredibly symbolic at this time of the season, would perhaps satisfy the fan base with the notion that things will be OK. Serenity now!

Somebody get him a compass

Ilya Bryzgalov, who is admittedly "lost in the woods" right now and appears to be a broken goalie, is slated to start Saturday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. He better find his way out of the woods in a hurry.

Since his first two starts of the season when he was stellar, Bryzgalov has been a mess, never worse than Thursday's five-goals-on-10-shots showing in "reprieve" of Sergei Bobrovsky. His best showing since those first two was when he gave up three goals to the Kings in an overtime loss. His numbers right now? Ugggly. Try an .870 save percentage and 3.45 GAA. Ouch.

So Peter Laviolette might have decided that what better way to get a goalie's broken confidence going once again than start him the next time out?

Either that or Lavy didn't want to put Bobrovsky back out there either.

Pregame trash talk

One of the great things about Twitter is the ability for players to interact with fans and other players for thousands to see. Ever wonder what players talk about before the puck is dropped in the faceoff circle? Twitter has helped give fans an idea.

But Anthony Stewart of the Carolina Hurricanes and Daniel Carcillo talking a little pregame smack on Twitter before Friday night's tilt? Yes please!

Carcillo (@CarBombBoom13) got it started with this: Goin 2 Carolina to throw a beat down on the Hurricanes and on@EhStew13 Just like in bantam when I'd drop u in buckets b4 pracy #indafaaace

Here was the response from Stewart (@EhStew13): You remembered u got Tko'd, keep the Bus in the Windy City, these 2 points aren't for sale #meh.

The short back-and-forth concluded with Carcillo: @EhStew13 we aren't lookin to buy #5fingerdiscount and I recall me havin to double shift in practice bc some1 had post concussion syndromes.

Good stuff. Guys having some playful smack (I'm assuming its playful) for all to see is good fun.

As to the game itself between the 'Hawks and 'Canes in Carolina? Well Chicago is looking for its first win in Raleigh since 1998. Granted there is unbalanced scheduling, but still, that's a long time. Also, Eric Staal needs to improve and that league-worst minus-9 he's sporting at the moment. Ouch.

Back to Vancouver ...

There will be no Green Men sitting by the opponent's box to torment Alex Ovechkin and crew. Vancouver's most famous fans will instead be ... in Bakersfield, Calif.?

Well look at that, the Green Men have turned their antics into appearances at hockey arenas. The Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL (originally from the WCHL) will have the spandex-wearing fans at their game on Friday night. Then Saturday will be Star Wars night.

I don't know about you all, but I'd rather see Star Wars night. Either way, these promotions are two big reasons why minor-league hockey is so awesome.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: October 27, 2011 11:23 pm
Edited on: October 28, 2011 1:24 am
 

Bryzgalov says he stinks, has no confidence

By: Adam Gretz

Ilya Bryzgalov was supposed to be the answer to the one problem the Philadelphia Flyers have been trying to solve since Ron Hextall was occupying the crease -- goalie. The Flyers have so much confidence that Bryzgalov is the man to get them over the postseason hump that after acquiring his free agent rights over the summer from the Phoenix Coyotes, they signed him to an enourmous nine-year, $51 million contract that was also accompanied by the trades of Mike Richards and Jeff Carter.

The entire sequence of events basically made Bryzgalov the face of the franchise. After two starts, Bryzgalov allowed just one goal in wins against Boston and New Jersey, and all seemed to be well. Over his past six appearances, however, everything has been a struggle.

He didn't start the Flyers' 9-8, goaltending optional loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday, but did enter the game after Sergei Bobrovsky allowed five goals in less than two periods of work. Bryzgalov wasn't any better and surrendered four goals on just 10 shots. Add that performance to his previous five, and he's allowed 25 goals on 157 shots for a brutal .840 save percentage since a shutout against New Jersey. Given how tough of a hockey market Philadelphia can be, there's no doubt some serious concern filling the call-in shows.

And Bryzgalov's post-game comments on Thursday might be causing some panic.

"I have zero confidence in myself right now," said Bryzgalov during his post-game interview. "I just can't stop the puck, it's very simple. You can't ask more from the forwards, they scored eight goals and we're still losing."

He later added that he feels like he's "lost in the woods right now."

You can watch his entire presser right here, via Flyers beat writer Anthony SanFillippo:



Bryzgalov definitely has a bit of a personality to him, and it's not uncommon for him to give candid -- and sometimes bizarre -- quotes in interviews, but it's a bit early in the season to sound that defeated.

The Flyers are currently without their best defenseman, Chris Pronger, following an eye injury he suffered against the Toronto Maple Leafs, and in their first two games without him they've given up 14 goals against two teams off to bad starts in Montreal and Winnipeg. The defense is a mess, and the goaltending isn't helpinng.

Bryzgalov had his best seasons in Phoenix playing in Dave Tippett's tight defensive system, and it was going to be interesting to see how he would adjust to the changes around him. Like Roberto Luongo in Vancouver Bryzgalov isn't going to be this bad all season, but in Philadelphia, where the home town team blew up its roster to acquire -- and sign -- him this isn't the start anybody was looking for.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 9, 2011 9:57 am
Edited on: July 9, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Daily Skate: Flyers shopping Bobrovsky?

By: Adam Gretz

PHILADELPHIA SHOPPING BOBROVSKY? After a promising start to his rookie season it appeared that Sergei Bobrovsky was going to be the goaltender of the future for the Philadelphia Flyers. Now that the team has acquired Ilya Bryzgalov, and signed him to a nine-year, $50 million contract, Bobrovsky's role with the club is up in the air. According to Frank Seravalli of Philly.com, the Flyers are apparently shopping Bobrovsky in a trade, even though general manager Paul Holmgren denied it. It might be tough to move a goaltender at this point in the offseason given how few openings there are at the position around the league. Last week the Avalanche gave up a first-round draft pick to acquire Semyon Varlamov from the Capitals, who then turned around and signed free agent Tomas Vokoun to a one-year, $1.5 million contract. Bobrovsky started 52 games for the Flyers last season, winning 28, and finishing with a .915 save percentage.

NEW YORK RE-SIGNS ANISIMOV, SAUER The New York Rangers signed a pair of their restricted free agents on Friday, agreeing to terms with forward Artem Anisimov and defenseman Michael Sauer. The 23-year-old Anisimov set career highs across the board last season, finishing with 18 goals and 26 assists in 82 games. His deal is a two-year contract. Sauer, also 23, is coming off his rookie season with the club where he played in 76 games, recording three goals to go with 12 assists while averaging over 17 minutes of ice-time per game.

MARTINEZ AVOIDS ARBITRATION Defenseman Alec Martinez and the Los Angeles Kings avoided salary arbitration on Friday by agreeing to a two-year contract. He had five goals and 11 assists a year ago. Los Angeles still needs to work out a deal with its other restricted free agent along the blue line, 21-year-old sensation Drew Doughty.

ARBITRATION DATES ANNOUNCED All of the scheduled arbitration dates were released on Friday, and you can check them all out at the NHLPA website. Some of the big ones: Brandon Dubinsky (Rangers), July 21; Ryan Callahan (Rangers), July 28; Shea Weber (Predators), August 2; Zach Parise (Devils), August 3. Deals can still be worked out prior to the arbitration dates to avoid the awkwardness -- and brutal honesty -- that often comes during the hearings.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.


Posted on: May 5, 2011 4:35 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 4:54 pm
 

Report: Bobrovsky to start for Flyers in Game 4

On the verge of extinction in this year's playoffs, the Flyers appear to be changing goaltenders. Again.

It comes as no surprise that Philly is going to return to Sergei Bobrovsky in Game 4 in Boston. The Flyers have been changing netminders as if they were going out of style in the playoffs, something they also did last season on their way to the Stanley Cup Finals. But the merry-go-round hasn't worked as well this postseason. At least not yet.

Entering the playoffs, Bobrovsky was the No. 1 guy in net. That lasted all of two games. Since that time, Bob has gone from starter to backup to third string, sitting behind Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton. Well, now down 3-0 to the Bruins, he's apparently back to being the starter, the last hope to ignite Philly as it looks to pull off the impossible once again, coming all the way back to beat the Bruins.

Philadelphia hoped before the season Bobrovsky could be the answer to its goaltending riddle, and he began the year playing well, giving Philly the look of a possible Cup favorite. As the year wore on, so did Bobrovsky, and we end up where we are today.

If the swap does happen, Danny Briere wouldn’t mind.

"I thought he looked great in relief in the Boston series,” Briere said. “Sometimes a lot has to do with how you feel against a team. Certain teams for goalies, maybe he can come in and feel good and see the puck well against the Bruins. I don’t know if he’s playing or not tomorrow, but if he’s in there, I’d feel very comfortable.”

Coach Peter Laviolette seems to think Bobrovsky could help stem the tide.

"Bob, he came in off the bench going in for the injury there (in Game 2) and I thought he did a good job last night,” Laviolette said. “He was good. Again, our team, the goals that went in last night, the first two, we need to be a lot better with what we do in our game in front of our goaltenders. There weren't a lot of chances, but we gave up too many good ones, too many quality ones.”

Either way, the Flyers need something, anything, to get them off the ground

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: April 18, 2011 1:59 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 10:34 pm
 

Flyers to start Boucher, Leighton to backup

As suspected, there's a new starting goaltender for Philadelphia tonight. Perhaps unsuspected is that all signs point to there being a new backup, too.

After struggling to the tune of three goals surrendered in seven shots, rookie Sergei Bobrovsky was pulled in favor of Brian Boucher, a move that helped the Flyers come back to beat the Sabres and even their series. Coach Peter Laviolette said Monday that it will, in fact, be Boucher starting Game 3 in Buffalo.

"Brian came in last couple of times and has done a really nice job for us in there," Laviolette said. "He’s on top of his game and in charge of his net. He bailed us out of a couple of situations and I really feel he deserves to go in there and play."

As far as the backup spot, per csnphilly.com , Philly will return to the tandem it used in last year's playoff, at least on Monday.

We know it’s Leighton because he and Boucher have full lockers while Sergei Bobrovsky does not. He has a tiny little stall that can’t fit equipment.
So there you have it.

Philadelphia made its improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals last year after getting in on the final day despite not having a go-to goaltender. The hope was that would be resolved this year, and Bobrovsky would be the reason why. The Russian rookie was superb in net early in the season, but faltered some as the season wore on. So it was widely assumed he would have a short leash this postseason.

Leighton played in 14 games last postseason, posting an 8-3 record to spur the Flyers. But this year he played just one game with the big club, being placed on waivers at one point.

-- Brian Stubits

Posted on: March 23, 2011 1:36 am
Edited on: March 23, 2011 1:54 am
 

Morning Skate: Rookie Reimer keeps Leafs going



Toronto Maples Leafs rookie goalie James Reimer must be doing something right if he's getting compared to a Transformer.

A couple “Optimus Reim” posters were spotted Xcel Energy Center Tuesday night where Reimer turned in a 29-save performance in a 3-0 Leafs victory over the Minnesota Wild, the Toronto Star reports.

The 23-year-old from Arborg, Manitoba, is the chief reason Toronto still has a shot at its first postseason berth since before the lockout. He had fair amount of admirers as friends and family members made the 540-mile trek from his hometown.

“You always want to win and always want to put on a good show for family, especially when they drive a long way,” Reimer told the newspaper. “They’re the ones who put in the time and effort into my life and into my hockey career.”
Line Changes

Reimer is 11-3-4 over his last 18 decisions and his three shutouts have come since Feb. 3. Not bad for a guy who was sent down to the AHL three times this season.

The Leafs finished the night in 10th place in the East, five points behind the eighth-place Buffalo Sabres. The Leafs have eight games remaining and it’s a safe bet Reimer will get a chance to start in each of those -- especially when you factor in the outrage when coach Ron Wilson started J.S. Giguere in a loss to Florida last Thursday.

Beyond the playoff push, Reimer has also emerged as a candidate for the Calder Trophy. The discussion for the league's top rookie has been dominated by Carolina Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner, San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture, New York Islanders forward Michael Grabner and Sabres forward Tyler Ennis.

Unlike those skaters who are on lines with talented teammates, Reimer is often on his own --- like when he turned away two shorthanded breakaway chances on Tuesday. But what'll hurt his Calder hopes is his short resume.

He'll play at most 37 games, fewer than Chicago's Corey Crawford, Philly's Sergei Bobrovsky and Washington's Michal Neuvirth --- all rookie goalies with solid stats on playoff-bound teams.

But if he gets the Leafs into the playoffs, that'll cover up his short job history and transfrorm him into Calder contender. 

COOKE AFTERMATH: It appears New York Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh feels for Pittsburgh Penguins forward Matt Cooke, who was suspended Monday for the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs for an elbow he delivered last weekend to McDonagh’s head. 

He spoke with Rangers broadcast outlet MSG before Tuesday’s game (Here’s the quote transcribed by TSN.ca): 

“You're trying to get good momentum going into the playoffs or keep your playoff spot and that was a close game at the time and momentum could go the other way. I think he's trying to make a big hit and he just caught me wrong. I don't think it was his intent.

"The suspension … it is what it is. The league is really pushing to get these hits out of the game. If that's a statement, it's a pretty big statement, for sure."


Earlier in the day, Pittsburgh's two newspapers (The Post-Gazette and Tribune-Review) reported Cooke expressed regret for the collision: 

"I realize and understand, more so now than ever, that I need to change," Mr. Cooke said. "That's what I wanted my message to be."

"I'm fortunate that Ryan McDonagh wasn't hurt," he said. "I don't want to hurt anybody. That's not my intention. I know that I can be better. ... I made a mistake, and I'm the one who's accountable for that. And I take full responsibility for it."


WEST END: Four points separate the fourth-place Phoenix Coyotes and 10th-place Calgary Flames entering play Wednesday. At the same point last season, that margin between the same two places in the Western Conference was 19 points.


TUESDAY'S RESULTS
NY Rangers 1, Florida 0
Boston 4, New Jersey 1
Carolina 4, Ottawa 3
Washington 5, Philadelphia 4 (SO)
Buffalo 2, Montreal 0
NY Islanders 5, Tampa Bay 2
Nashville 3, Edmonton 1
Toronto 3, Minnesota 0
Colorado 5, Columbus 4 (SO)
Phoenix 2, St. Louis 1

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com