BOSTON, MA - MAY 06: Sergei Bobrovsky #35 of the Philadelphia Flyers reacts as the Boston Bruins fans cheer after a goal in the third period in Game Four of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at TD Garden on May 6, 2011 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Boston Bruins defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 5-1 to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
In case you missed it in this morning's Fly By, there was an article from NHL.com on the Flyers' goalies and what the team will look to do over the summer. In it, Peter Laviolette, Brian Boucher, and Jeff Reese gave some interesting quotes, most of which were harmless.
But there was one in particular that caught my attention. After Reese explained that Sergei Bobrovsky went through a lot this year, and was quite impressive given all the challenges he faced, Reese dropped this line:
"The Buffalo series, we pulled him out because we wanted to give him a little rest, a little time of [sic] to sit and watch," said Reese. "Then he came back strong in the Boston series, I thought he played very well. He just got a little bit of a rest, that's what he needed."
Now, there are two things here. One, the team "wanted to give [Bobrovsky] a little rest" and "that's what he needed." Two, the team "wanted to give him... a little time of to sit and watch." Ignoring the fact that one can "sit and watch" from the bench, let's look a little deeper at the team wanting to give Bobrovsky some rest.
The Flyers decided they wanted to give him rest after Game 2 of the first round. This is after they started him in each of the final four games of the regular season, six of the last seven and ten of the last 12. During the final three weeks of the season, Bobrovsky started ten games. In other words, the team started Bobrovsky on a playoff schedule three weeks early, after he had already started 42 games -- or seven more than he had ever done in a season before.
If the Flyers "wanted to give Bobrovsky a little rest", wouldn't a late-season game against the Islanders, Thrashers, or Senators have been a good chance to do that? If the team was going to ride him like it was the playoffs for the final three weeks of the season, but thought he was too tired to sit on the bench -- let alone start a game -- after only seventy minutes of the actual playoffs, isn't that an indictment of the coaches?
How did Bobrovsky do during this stretch? He stopped 91.3 percent of all shots he faced. Over his final eight regular season games, he stopped 92.0 percent. Did he look tired? Absolutely. Because in Bobrovsky's final three games, he gave up eleven goals in three games, stopping only 85.1 percent of all shots. He finished the year 0-2-2 and looked bad doing it, but the Flyers started him in Game 82 against the Islanders anyway.
Was Bob tired by the time Game 2 against Buffalo rolled around? Probably. If the team was worried about his stamina, maybe they should have thought about that before starting him ten times in three weeks. Even then, does his overuse warrant putting him in a suit?
No. This is a tacit admission that the Flyers completely mishandled Bobrovsky down the stretch.