Ring around the goalie, pocket full of? Nothing rhymes with goalie that would sound relevant. However, some may look at the Flyers current goalie situation as a ring around. To begin, Bryz started off the season playing very well going 3-1-1 in his first five games which included a shutout, something the Flyers didn’t see last season. Then Bryz began to slowly decline and admitted after the Winnipeg game that he “was lost in the woods” and that he had “zero” confidence in himself, but Lavy kept with him and Bryz found what the Flyers believe he had when they signed him to a nine year contract. Since the Flyers went a season high of winning seven straight games, the Flyers and Bryzgalov were met with a familiar foe, inconsistency.
The Flyers have played seven games since the winning streak had ended in a 6-0 defeat against the reigning Stanley Cup Champion, the Boston Bruins, and have gone 2-4-1 and have only scored 15 goals during that span. The goalies, have given up 23 goals in those seven games. This is not something the Flyers want to see, neither is this, what the fans expect to see.
However the Flyers have seen their fair share of triple deflections that superman couldn’t stop, or crazy bounces that happen to find their way passed the goal line and even miraculously falling right on the opposition’s tape for an easy garbage goal. These goals are going to happen and unfortunately, it’s been happening more than once and on a regular basis for the Flyers. On the contrary, several goals are pretty legit goals that were created by gifted set-ups, crashing the net and of course the power play. I’ve seen several goals that were scored due to a lapse of defense. I’ve seen several defensemen, stop covering their man and go after the puck carrier, leaving the open man alone in the front of the net. This happened several times during the Tampa game as Stamkos (The guy who you should never stop covering) was left alone on the door step and guess what happened? He scored two against the Flyers that night.
However, you can blame the defense for only so long however, and it can’t be on injuries. Yes they’re playing without their top defenseman and captain, Chris Pronger, but when your defense is getting beat you have that last line of defense for a reason. It’s a very good $52 Million reason at that if you’re paying close attention. Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky have let in their share of weak goals this season including the most recent two goals that Mike Rupp scored in the Winter Classic. Mike Rupp should not being scoring goals from the circle on a goalie like Sergei Bobrovsky.
This brings me to Lavy’s decision to start Bobrovsky over Bryz. Lavy decided to go with who’s been hotter more recently and realized that even though the Classic was the “mid season big stage,” he gave the start to a goalie who’s been trying to prove himself and has been playing well. On the other hand, I disagreed with the decision, only because Bryz seems to be lacking confidence right now. Lavy played him before with the “lost in the woods” debacle and he turned out to play a successful slew of games. I think sitting Bryz for the Winter Classic does send him a message, but it could send him the wrong message. Like it or not, Bryz is the guy. The contract states that. The team needs to buy into that, the coaches need to buy into that, the FANS need to buy in to that and most importantly, Bryzgalov and Bobrovsky need to buy into that. This guy needs his confidence back. Playing him during a extremely important divisional game on National Television shows that you (the coach) have confidence that he’s going to turn it around and play the way you expect him to play. As long as you have two goalies capable at playing the number one position and the coach keeps going with the hotter hand with each string of games, you’re going to have the same mistake and problem the Flyers had last year. It was a nightmare and if we have this, then all we’ve is set ourselves back.
You can blame the goalie on a loss, you can blame the defense on a loss but many seem to forget the score and take a look at the offense at the end of the game. As Bill Clement would say “In order to win the game, you have to score goals.” Yes the Defense can blow a game, the goalie can blow a game and the offense can come out flat and blow the game. In the end, you lose as a team and you win as a team. With the Flyers’ PP and PK numbers and their ability to not play the first period, the Flyers have bigger problems then just their goaltending. Look at the big picture, it’s a team game. The Team wins the Stanley Cup, not the goalie.
Next we’ll cover the boy on the milk carton, James VanRiemsdyk in the III part of this blog.
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