Boucher v. Bobrovsky: Who Should Start?
It's a question that's been circulating throughout Flyerland since the first game of the season.
"Who should be the starting goaltender?"
Seeing that head coach Peter Laviolette has been using an "every other game" tandem with his goaltenders, it's obvious that neither Boosh nor Bob is the actual starter.
The Flyers take on the Ducks Thursday evening. So let's throw it out there once again. "Who should be the starting goaltender?"
I'm sure you could make a solid argument for either side. The answer (which, come to think of it, is actually just a glorified opinion), is surprisingly paradoxical.
It doesn't matter.
Yes, I said it. You could start Boosh or Bobrovsky. Fact (erm, opinion) is it doesn't matter who starts. But why?
Let me explain. People have seen the Flyers losing lately (they're 1-2-0 in their home stand so far) and who do they blame? The goaltender.
But the truth of the matter is that goaltending actually isn't the problem. Both Boosh and Bobrovsky have been relatively solid between the pipes from the get-go.
The real problem is the offense. The Flyers are 24th in G/G (goals per game) and 19th in S/G (shots per game). The PP%? 24th in the league.
Stats aside, there is little to no chemistry on any of the lines or with the PP unit. The only line that seems to be solid so far is the fourth line. They've been bringing a solid forecheck and have been matching our opponents' energy and speed. But they aren't expected to produce on the score board, nor have they been.
This is absolutely inexcusable. On paper this team has depth down to the third line. There aren't a lot of NHL teams that can say that. But here we sit, another year where we're failing to meet expectations.
I know Laviolette doesn't want to make any premature moves in adjusting the offense (e.g. not wanting to break up the Briere line because Leino is still adjusting from surgery), but I'm starting to become increasingly annoyed with his inaction. Something needs to be done immediately. Kick guys off the PP unit. Adjust lines. Bench other players, not just Carcillo.
Some of these guys on our offense act like they're privileged. Lavvy needs to sit some of them down for a game. Surprise them. Let them back when they can earn a spot. Make these guys work for the win, because they're not doing that now.
Discipline is also an issue (again). We're 2nd in the league in the number of times we've been shorthanded. We're 28th in the league in PIM/G (which translates to the fact that only two teams have more penalty minutes per game than the Flyers do). Our TkA-GvA ratio is an abysmal -14 (which means that we're giving away the puck fourteen more times than we're taking it away from our opponent). We can't even handle the puck!
And of course when you're on the PK as often as the Flyers are, certain players that aren't a part of the PP unit are going to be sitting on the bench getting cold. They go back on the ice, can't keep up with our opponent, and they, too, create penalty situations.
The lack of discipline of this team is disgustingly cyclical.
Of course, I have to say that it isn't just the offense causing penalties. The defense does it, too.
But as a whole the defense isn't a problem. We're 8th in S/A and we're 11th in PK%. We've been playing solid in our own zone when the defensemen aren't tired from being on the PK. Sure, Matt Carle has been bombing these past few games. But guys like Coburn, Pronger, and Timonen are holding their own.
So I'll say it again: goaltending is not the issue. I know Bobrovsky needs some solid time under his belt, but we've got a good 70-something games to go, then possibly more in the postseason. He'll get his time.
For now, the back-and-forth tandem is working just fine. Also, the defense is alright. It's the offense that's the problem.
"So who should be the starting goaltender?"
Some say Boosh, others say Bobrovsky. Fact remains that it doesn't matter. If our offense doesn't get it's act together this team is going nowhere fast.
Oh, and Flyers? Danny Briere called. He told me to tell you all that he can't do this all by himself.