BOB: SAY UNCLE
It was in practice, and the Flyers were taking breakaways on the rookie goalie.
Giroux and Danny Briere, two of the Flyers more creative breakaway specialists tried a lot of fancy dekes and toe drags and puck tricks to beat him and time after time were stoned by Bobrovsky.
"We said, 'Who is this guy," said Giroux.
Well, he's your new starting goalie.
Bob didn't disappoint in his NHL debut, making 29 saves - and all 15 in a lopsided first period that completely favored the Penguins - to lead the Flyers to victory.
The question that kept creeping up during training camp was "What about Bob?"
He's now started to provide answers.
Now, one game does not a season make, and coach Peter Laviolette said Brian Boucher, who also had a good training camp, will get his opportunities to play early in the season as well, but it's hard not to look at the 22-year-old and think big things.
Some other observations and notes from the opener at Consol Energy Center:
- The building is cool. Kudos to the Penguins organization for finding an architect with a keen eye on how the sport of hockey should be presented. Great site lines, great video board, open and spacious concession areas and concourses - just a perfect atmosphere for a good hockey town.
- Mario Lemieux pouring water allegedly from Mellon Arena onto center ice before the game began was incredibly corny. There was nothing special about that arena. It was horrible. Boucher said "It was the worst arena in the world." To pay tribute to it in that way was hokey.
- Again... just one game but there were a couple negatives for the Flyers... Nik Zherdev played fewer minutes than any Flyer except Dan Carcillo and Jody Shelley. He tried a couple of dipsy-do moves that the Pens staunch defense didn't fall for and spent a lot of time... especially in the third period, rooted to the bench. The other fail was Jeff Carter on the wing. He looked lost at times, and his best chance to score in the third period was lost on a pad save by Marc-Andre Fleury.
- Really liked the way Darroll Powe played. He filled in nicely for Ian Laperriere on the top unit of the penalty kill, and his crash the net mentality set up the Flyers second goal for Blair Betts. He won't get a lot of publicity but he is a key ingredient to this team's success.
- The defense, without Chris Pronger, was shaky in the first period but bounced back nicely over the final two frames.
- Claude Giroux pounced on a lazy backward pass by Kris Letang for the short-handed game-winner. He has the ability - playing with Mike Richards on the PK - to create a dangerous duo on the point - much like Richards and Simon Gagne were on the PK two years ago.
One final note. I wrote a story before the game about Pronger's knee injury and how his surgery might have been more complex than the team originally let on. I had a chance to follow up with Pronger via text message afterward and while he didn't completely clear up his injury severity, he did suggest that he was being playful with the media when using terms like "redone" and "reconstruction." Take that for what you will.
I won't be in St. Louis because I'll be home celebrating Canadian Thanksgiving.... Seriously. Sarah's family is coming down from Ontario and we're having a big thing at the house. But, I plan on watching the game, so be sure to follow along with me on Twitter @anthonysan37 as I watch it from a fan's perspective on the tube with you all.