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Better prepared Bobrovsky ready for sophomore year, challenge with Bryzgalov

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When the Flyers lost to the Bruins in the playoffs, Bobrovsky says he didn’t get the feeling that the Bruins would go all the way.

"No, I didn’t even think about it. They are a good team and they played well against us. But it’s the playoffs. There are a lot of good teams and everyone plays well. It’s hard to guess which one of them will win the Cup eventually. I don’t think you can guess it."

Bobrovsky says he didn’t try to learn from the veteran Bruins goalie Tim Thomas who played a big part in the Bruins’ success.

"Oh, no. He’s got a different style. Yes, he played well, but a goalie can’t win the Cup. They played very well as a team, and I think that’s why they won. Thomas certainly had a very strong season and I’m not taking anything away from him. I just wouldn’t say that I learned something concrete by watching him."

Bobrovsky agrees with the old saying that regular season and playoffs are two different sports.

"Yes, I agree. Players are completely different. There are less mistakes and everyone is focused. Everyone is ready to pay the price and go to the net more aggressively. Of course it makes for different hockey."

If getting tired during a long season was the most important lesson for Bobrovsky, it’s a lesson learned. He reveals that he has changed a lot of his training programs.

"Yes, I started preparing for the season later and I went to Austria to work with a physical trainer. I would say that I changed my training radically. The entire plan for the season has changed; what to do after practices, what to do after games and so on."

Bobrovsky says it’s basically the stuff where goalie coach Jeff Reese is not involved.

"We only work on the ice with the goalie coach. He’s not involved in the physical training."

By signing Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers became the first team in NHL history to have a Russian goalie tandem. Big deal, says Bob.

"To be honest, no, it doesn’t mean anything to me."

Bryzgalov was brought in to solve the long term goalie problem on the Flyers, but Bobrovsky is quick to remind that there was no goalie problem on the Flyers last season.

"As I’ve said before, I don’t think there was a goalie problem on the Flyers last season. We took second place in the conference. I don’t remember exactly how many games we won, but you can’t reach second place with bad goalies. This also applies to the playoffs. I wouldn’t say that we lost to Boston because of goaltending."

So there was no need to sign Bryz?

"Well, that’s not my decision [laughs]. That’s up to the management. My job is to stop the puck. I’m just saying that I don’t think goaltending was a problem last season."

When Bryzgalov was signed, there was a lot of talk about it being a good thing for Bobrovsky to have a veteran to learn from. So how is it? Has Bryzgalov given Bobrovsky any advices?

"No. But I’m not asking for advices. I don’t see much sense in that. I’m not 14 anymore. I already know how to prepare for games and what to do. I have my own style and my own vision of the game. During the season I will learn on my own what works best for me."

Sometimes one can’t help but wonder do Bobrovsky and Bryzgalov talk at all.

"Why? We talk. On road trips, we can go and have dinner together somewhere. We’re colleagues. He’s in one goal and I’m in another. And we do our job."

Going back to the crazy game versus the Winnipeg Jets, Bobrovsky says there was a lot of bad luck involved.

"There are those games. As for my own game, I can say that I had no luck with the bounces. It’s really hard to stop those. But I’m not thinking about that game anymore. You should get over these kind of games."

Bobrovsky isn’t sure how Bryzgalov dealt with that game.

"I don’t know, he knows better. I can’t tell from his face how he felt at that moment. Maybe he felt like I did."

Another big off-season signing was of course Jaromir Jagr. Despite playing in the same league for two years, Bobrovsky says he didn’t really know Jagr.

"I wouldn’t say I knew him. How many times did we meet in the KHL? 2-3? We haven’t talked about that."

"I can talk with him in Russian. His Russian is pretty good."

Bobrovsky hasn’t asked why Jagr returned to the NHL.

"I don’t know [laughs]. Maybe he still wants to play here."

Bobrovsky isn’t surprised to see Jagr do so well.

"What is surprising about that? It’s Jagr! His name speaks for itself. It would be surprising if he wasn’t doing well."

Jagr is not the only aging veteran on the team, so it raises a question if the Flyers’ window to win is closing in a year or two.

"Flyers are an organization where everyone wants to win, always. Last season our goal was to win the Cup and it will be the goal now and again next season. Everyone here understands it and fights for it. Kimmo Timonen is probably one of the best defensemen I’ve ever played with. I can say the same thing about Chris Pronger. They’re great people and great leaders. They really cement our defense. What do we see in the future? The ambition in Philadelphia will never change. This club will always want to win."

Despite having to battle through injuries on key players, the archrival Pittsburgh Penguins seem to be doing well this year. Bob isn’t afraid.

"What is there to fear? [laughs] This is hockey. I congratulate teams that are doing well. But again, the season is very long. If you win six in a row, you’re in first place. If you lose 3-4 games, you’re in 7th-8th place. It makes no sense to be afraid."

This report was based off of a Russian-language story in the publication All Hockey.