Peter Laviolette has always had the tendency to ride the hot hand, and when Sergei Bobrovsky beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night, there was literally zero doubt in my mind that he should start the Winter Classic. He's the better goalie right now, and it's an enormous hockey game -- both in terms of scale and hype, and obviously in the standings.
So when the news leaked out this morning that Bobrovsky would be starting tomorrow instead of the I'm-playing-awful-right-now Ilya Bryzgalov, it wasn't really all that surprising. It completely falls under the M.O. of the head coach, and it makes complete sense.
And to be honest, I don't know how much of a message it really is. A lot of people are talking about what this means for the rest of the season and blah blah blah. But just as Bobrovsky has played well and has taken control of an opportunity, Bryzgalov will probably do exactly the same at some point over the next three and a half months.
If that's a goalie controversy or whatever, fine. Then we have a goalie controversy on our hands. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. If anything, it shows that the coach is going to start whichever goalie gives the team the best chance to win. It can develop into a problem come playoff time, as we learned last year, but in the midst of the regular season, simply letting the better goalie play is not a bad thing in the slightest bit.
And right now, tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park, that goalie is Sergei Bobrovsky.