Brian Boucher’s professional career will continue, just not in North America.
Nicola Berger of Neue Luzerner Zeitung in Switzerland reports the 36 year-old goalie has signed with EV Zug in the Swiss National League. Boucher reportedly got the nod over former Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro for the job.
Last season, Boucher played four games with the Philadelphia Flyers but also played 16 more with the AHL’s Adirondack Phantoms.
A 13-year NHL veteran, Boucher has had his share of ups and downs after starting his career in Philly back in the 1999-2000 season.
He saw his ability to play threatened two seasons ago with Carolina when he suffered a serious groin injury. Now he’ll join fellow Americans and former NHLers Rob Schremp and Andrew Hutchinson in Switzerland.
The Philadelphia Flyers suffered an “embarrassing” loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday and followed it up with a 3-0 defeat against the Boston Bruins this afternoon.
With the Flyers rapidly losing ground in their hunt for a playoff spot, they have called up goaltender Michael Leighton and demoted Brian Boucher, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi.
The question is why. Is it possible that Leighton might start in the Flyers’ Sunday contest against the Buffalo Sabres (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN), as the Philadelphia Daily News pondered.
Ilya Bryzgalov has started in 24 of the Flyers’ 26 games this season, including three games in the last five days. Leaning that heavily on a goaltender would be asking a lot under normal circumstances, but with the condensed schedule, Bryzgalov might be hitting a wall.
At the same time, Leighton, 31, allowed five goals on 26 shots against the Tampa Bay Lightning in his only start this season. It was just his second NHL game since he surrendered an overtime goal to Patrick Kane in the deciding contest of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals.
Either way, Sunday is another critical contest for Philadelphia as they try to stop the bleeding. Buffalo is just two points behind them and has played in one fewer games.
Philadelphia failed to take advantage of their recent opportunities to close the gap on some serious contenders for a playoff spot. They need to at least beat the few teams that are below them.
Much has been made about how much the Pittsburgh Penguins struggle holding onto a lead. On the bright side, most leads seem pretty unsafe against them, as well.
The Philadelphia Flyers built a 4-1 cushion against the Penguins in the first period on Thursday, chasing Marc-Andre Fleury in the process. Ilya Bryzgalov felt his pain tonight, as Pittsburgh eventually scuttled him for Brian Boucher while closing the gap during a strong final 40 minutes for a 5-4 win.
Here are the highlights.
The Flyers haven’t blown at least a three-goal lead and lost in regulation since Jan. 17, 1993 (vs. Detroit), according to Elias Sports Bureau. Bryzgalov declined to comment after the game, the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi reports.
Philly should be frustrated either way, but some will wonder if Scott Hartnell tied the game in the third period on this play, which a review confirmed as a no-goal.
Regardless, the Penguins are now second overall in the East while the Flyers slide to 11th.
The Philadelphia Flyers have placed goalie Michael Leighton and forward Tom Sestito on waivers, according to Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News.
Leighton, 31, had only appeared in one game for the Flyers this season — a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay on Jan. 27 in which he stopped 21 of 26 shots.
His demotion is an indication that Philly will go with Brian Boucher as Ilya Bryzgalov’s primary backup.
Sestito, 25, has played in seven games this season, which included a huge effort in a Feb. 5 win over the Lightning. The rugged forward scored both goals in a 2-1 victory — the first two-goal game of his career.
CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio says the hope for Philly is for both to clear and join the Phantoms.
But that might not be so easy.
According to various sources, the Edmonton Oilers have an expressed an interest in Sestito. The Oilers are seeking toughness up front and were believed to be interested in Vancouver winger Aaron Volpatti before he was claimed off waivers by Washington.
Although Maple Leafs starting goaltender James Reimer’s lower body injury cast a dark cloud over Toronto’s 5-2 victory, forward James van Riemsdyk left his first contest against the team that traded him, the Philadelphia Flyers, with bragging rights.
With Toronto up 4-1 early in the third period, van Riemsdyk was able to score his team-leading eighth goal of the season. The 23-year-old is now three goals shy of his 2011-12 total.
You can watch him slip the puck past goaltender Brian Boucher below:
The man Toronto gave up in the exchange, 23-year-old defenseman Luke Schenn, registered an assist, blocked three shots, and had two hits. Although van Riemsdyk will show up on more highlight reels, Schenn has been the Flyers’ most physical blueliner and ranks second on the squad with 30 blocked shots this season.