1. Laud Bob, learn from Bob
When Dmitry Chesnokov interviewed Sergei Bobrovsky for Puck Daddy this offseason, he asked him about Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract.
“What I understood from last season is that if you play well, show the result, then you play for the first team,” said Bobrovsky. “If not, you are benched. A contract is not playing, a person is.”
Bobrovsky put his head down, kept quiet, and played hard. The presence of Bryzgalov did not intimidate him. That alone speaks volumes about just how much the young goalie matured from the previous postseason.
While Bob may not get the nod against all of the league’s top teams, his numbers are solid.
In this battle of attrition, Bob has the edge. He has confidence and has won over the respect of his teammates. Getting the start for the Winter Classic was also a nice attaboy for his hard work from Peter Laviolette.
Another sign that Bob has his foot in the starting goalie door: Bryzgalov averaged 66.5 starts through his four seasons and it was anticipated that would remain true in Philadelphia, leaving Bob a mere 15 or so games in net. To date, Sergei Bobrovsky has played 19 games and is on pace to play 32 games this season.
While some thought that Bryzgalov could mentor Bobrovsky, it turns out Bryz could actually learn a thing or two from Bob.
2. Stay the course
It is clear that the Flyers are missing a crease-clearing presence on defense. It is possible that Chris Pronger may never skate again — and that is a bitter pill to swallow. However, it is also true that the Flyers have a glut of young talent that harkens back to the days when Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Patrick Sharp, R.J. Umberger, Joni Pitkanen, et al. were considered up-and-coming prospects.
If the organization considers parting with any of the young players, they need to look no further back than the Sharp trade that fans bemoan to this day (even if that trade served as a wake-up call to Sharp).
High-ceiling, low-salary prospects are invaluable to a team that leaves little breathing room beneath the cap ceiling each season and, if the player has the tools to make good on that potential, why part with him for a short term gain? The Los Angeles Kings fans probably kick themselves every time they think about how the team traded tenth-round pick, Kimmo Timonen, to Nashville just so the Predators would promise not to draft Garry Galley.
3. Do not part with picks in a deep draft
Although the Flyers traded the team’s second-round pick to Tampa Bay for Andrej Meszaros, Philadelphia could have as many as five draft picks through the first three rounds of the deep 2012 NHL Entry Draft, depending upon whether the Florida Panthers decide to give up their 2012 or 2013 pick as part of the deal they made to acquire Kris Versteeg.
Rentals like Tim Gleason sound attractive at the moment but, when Jaromir Jagr’s wonky groin and Bryzgalov’s erratic play are taken into consideration, the team might be just as well suited keeping as many picks as possible. After all, it will not be long before players like Claude Giroux, Bryaden Schenn, and Sean Couturier command significant raises and the prospects acquired with those picks will be that much more important to the organization.
4. Kudos, Kimmo
It was a bit of a surprise to many people when Kimmo Timonen decided to play in the All-Star game. The general consensus was that the 36-year-old defenseman would rest over the break but his 12-year-old son, Samuel, had other plans for him.
“He’s into hockey a lot, and he’s in a fantasy league and that kind of stuff,” said Timonen. “Obviously, this is a really big thing for him, and I’m going to take him into the locker room [Saturday].”
Although it’s safe to say that both the organization and the fan base would have preferred that he skip the game, the Finnish wonder cannot be blamed for giving his son at least one more shot to see the old man play in the All-Star game.
5. The old college try
In Keith Jones’s book, Jonesy: Put Your Head Down and Skate: The Improbable Career of Keith Jones, Jones discusses how some NHL teams apparently work out deals with Universities to stash away obscure prospects. Or, at least that was his opinion when the Washington Capitals scouted him and got him a scholarship to attend Western Michigan University and then drafted him in 1988.
Is that what Paul Holmgren has been doing as a way of building up the prospect pool without using the draft? It’s possible, consider the fortune he has had finding prospects like Erik Gustafsson, Matt Read, and Harry Zolnierczyk. After all, circumvention is not a new concept to the GM. Then again, Occam’s Razor would shave away such conspiracies and say that maybe Homer has had nothing more than a good run of luck.