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Daily Times beat writer Anthony J. SanFilippo takes you inside the locker rooms of the Philadelphia Flyers and the rest of the NHL.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

WHAT ABOUT BOB?

If an end of season award ever had an opportunity to boil down to one isolated moment it could have happened Friday night in Raleigh, N.C.

There was 18-year-old Carolina rookie - and cult icon in the research triangle - Jeff Skinner skating down the left wing.

There also was 22-year-old rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky squaring to face him.

There's a short list of names that will be mentioned for the Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year, and these two are likely candidates for the award.

Skinner won the mano-y-mano competition in this instance, floating a nothing-special wrister through Bobrovsky's five-hole - a save the goalie, nay any goalie, has to make - but Bobrovsky answered Skinner the rest of the game.

Skinner is the leading scorer in the NHL among rookies, and by those accounts is a favorite to win the Calder Trophy. Considering the added exposure he received in the All-Star Game, He's a lock to be a finalist and could win on reputation alone.

Logan Couture in San Jose may be the most polished and most complete rookie this season, but he's only a rookie through a technicality as he played a good chunk of last season with the Sharks and that could hurt his candidacy in the eyes of many voters.

Then there's Michael Grabner with the Islanders. The late-to-the-party rookie has been white hot lately with 14 goals in 15 games to jump into the mix.

But what about Bobrovsky? Is what he's doing in goal impressive enough to be mentioned?


"He should be in the conversation," his coach Peter Lacviolette said. "If he's not then maybe I need to start rattling that cage. He has 23 wins. That means he's going to finish with 30 or more. That's a pretty impressive number for a rookie."

It is, but it ranks in the middle of the pack in the NHL (tied for 12th). His goals against average is also in the middle third of the league (12th at 2.44) and is behind his own teammate Brian Boucher (2.27, 6th). And his save percentage (.919) is tied for 15th in the league one-hundredth of a point behind Boucher (.920).

Again, his numbers are pretty good for a rookie, but they're not eye-popping. And when you consider Skinner, Couture and Grabner all are sure bets to post 50-point seasons as a rookie (Skinner could hit 60) and all three have a realistic shot at 30 goals.

Considering how hard it is to reach those plateaus as a veteran let a lone a rookie and considering Bobrovsky's slightly above average numbers are bolstered by playing behind arguably the best defensive corps in the NHL, it's not hard to think Bobrovsky is fourth in a three-horse race for the Calder - no matter how much cage-rattling Peter Laviolette wants to employ.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Cheyney said...

To answer the question, no, I don't think Bobrovsky should win the Calder. Not that the trophy is the be all, end all measuring stick, I just don't think it's apples to apples.

That said, what Bob has accomplished so far this season is to be commended. However, I agree with ASF, that I believe Bob's numbers are skewed playing behind this defense. Take him out of this situation, and he is no different than say, Nate Lawson of the Islanders.

I've been sort of banging this drum for awhile now, but Bob scares the s**t out of me. Yes, he played great for 2 periods last night, but his softies are becoming more and more frequent. Doesn't that feel like Deja Vu (last season) all over again? If last night's game was indeed a playoff game, and it felt like it at times, that second goal just can't happen, because the team is fighting uphill, then, from an early stage in the game.

February 19, 2011 at 9:56 AM 

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