gyi0062208469-bobrovsky

With Bobrovsky in control in Philly, who goes when Michael Leighton is ready to play?

It’s a nice problem to have if you’re the Philadelphia Flyers. They’ve got a goalie right now that’s ascended to stardom by taking the starting job for himself in Sergei Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky got the opportunity to take the starting job when assumed starting goalie Michael Leighton missed the start of the season thanks to back surgery. Bobrovsky won the starting job in the meantime over Brian Boucher but now that Leighton is back on the ice and resuming normal activities, who stays and who is going to end up going through all this? Chuck Gormley of Flyers Files took a look at the situation and offered up his take on things.

Leighton has been practicing on his own for two weeks and is close to being given medical clearance to practice all-out with the club. Boucher has played well in his backup role this season (1-2-1, 2.26 GAA) but has not been given a start since Oct. 25. The simplest solution would be to send Leighton to the Phantoms on a conditioning assignment since he has not been in game action since a preseason game on Sept. 24.

If nothing else, that would bide the Flyers another week or so. But once all three goalies are healthy, look for Boucher to pass through waivers, at least on the way down to the minors. It is entirely possible that when and if the Flyers decide to call up Boucher, he’ll be reclaimed by another team at the half-price rate of $462,500. Boucher is in the final year of his two-year contract with the Flyers and would like to earn himself one more two-year deal in the NHL.

Leighton, on the other hand, signed a two-year, $3.1 million contract and is far less attractive at that price tag.

Indeed, a goalie with a wonky back and a somewhat stiff price tag doesn’t really motivate anyone to want to make a move for them. Leighton will get his chances to win his spot in the lineup as, at least a backup to Bobrovsky. That said, Bobrovsky is in sore need of a breather after starting the last 11 Flyers games. Brian Boucher, you’d think, will get another start soon and it’s not that he’s been bad this year, it’s just that he’s not starting goaltender material anymore.

Leighton proved himself towards the end of last season and again in the playoffs that he’s a very capable goalie. While he may not be the answer in goal, nor will he need to be now with Bobrovsky around, he’s a very good goalie to have around nonetheless as he proved last season when Ray Emery went down for the season. Leighton ascended to the starting job after Brian Boucher (and others) went down with injuries and willed the Flyers into the playoffs.

What this all means to me is that Brian Boucher had either start getting curious about real estate in Glens Falls, NY where the Flyers AHL affiliate plays. With Bobrovsky in control and Leighton on the way back and ready to take over the #1A/#2 spot in Philly, he’s the likely candidate to get squeezed out.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

Leave a comment

Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

Leave a comment

Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

1 Comment

After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP
1 Comment

It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.