Flyers goalie coach Jeff Reese says Ilya Bryzgalov is going through an adjustment period and the same goes for the whole team while Sergei Bobrovsky isn’t quite ready to be a starting goalie yet. In the big picture, Reese calls the Flyers’ goaltending one of the best in the league.
Having two Russian goalies on the team is a rarity in the league, but Reese doesn’t really see anything special about it.
"I don’t think them both being Russian really means anything. Though it’s great when I can’t explain something to Bobrovsky, Bryz can translate for me."
"They have a healthy competition and that’s never harmed anyone. I know that Bryzgalov won’t refuse to help Bob and Bob won’t be just a humble servant."
"I also have a lot to learn as a coach as well, there are always some new methods and techniques out there."
Reese has a lot of faith in Bobrovsky and says the 23 year old will offer serious competition for Bryzgalov, but when will he be ready to be the starter?
"I don’t know. Maybe it will never happen. But I believe in him and consider him a very talented and confident goaltender who has a strong personality and the right kind of attitude. With Bryzgalov, he offers depth and reliability for the Flyers."
"Look at Cory Schneider in Vancouver for example. He’s an excellent goalie behind Luongo. The same way Bryzgalov was in Anaheim behind Giguere. So Bob has time on his side. He has an NHL veteran in front of him and he can learn a lot from him. He learns to understand what it’s like to be the starting goalie and play through the pain of each game while maintaining your consistency."
"I asked Bob to add some strength during the summer and he did it. I can already see visible progress in his stick work as a result of our work at practices. Bob is eager to develop and will offer serious competition for Bryzgalov."
"There would be something wrong with Bob if he didn’t think he was as good as Bryzgalov."
Reese is also quick to remind how happy he is with the goalies in the Flyers system.
"We also don’t have just a good tandem in the NHL, but our whole system is full of impressive goalies with Mike Leighton, Jason Bacashihua and Johan Backlund on the Phantoms and we also signed Niko Hovinen who plays on the Pelicans in Finland."
"Goalies used to be the weakness of the Flyers, but now our goaltending is one of the best in the league."
Best or not, whenever a new goalie comes in, there’s usually an adjustment period to be handled. There’s been talk about simplifying the communication on the ice between the defenders and the goalie, but Reese also reminds that better communication alone doesn’t fix the problems.
"We really need to simplify the communication between the players, but you can’t be sure that it will solve everything. The game is played at a tremendous speed. The goalie must assess the situation himself. Sometimes you just have to play it safe along the boards and not take any risks."
"Adjusting is also not just the goalies’ problem. The whole team has changed a lot for this season so even the veterans have some adjusting to do."
"But I don’t think this adjusting will take a long time. Soon Bryzgalov will show his true quality."
This report was based off of a Russian-language story in the publication Sovetsky Sport.