"Problems can become opportunities when the right people come together."
Who would have thought that opportunity would become the Winter Classic for Michael Leighton?
Merely a fortnight or so ago the Flyers were faced with the idea of continuing their losing streak without Emery or Boucher in net. Admittedly at the time I thought, what does it matter?
The two top goaltenders in Philly might as well be injured, the Flyers seriously needed Betts, Gagne, and Powe back in the lineup and I figured once the netminders finally got back the lines would be healthy again too and things could crank back up.
Michael Leighton has surprised me, because I was not expecting this kind of outcome five games into his arrival.
What strikes me immediately about Leighton besides his size, is how he does the simple things right, a result of years in minor leagues and watching Cam Ward play each night I suppose. He is very calm in his net and shows alot of patience in the position, and I'm more than happy to have a guy like that minding net in the current situation.
If you haven't watched any Flyers games lately, you wouldn't know that Leighton has been helped a lot by the Flyers effort to maintain rebounds and clean things up around their own net, but that's OK. He's the backup's backup at the moment, and I quite happily accept him there while the Flyers D-men are aware and leave Leighton by himself very minimally.
Having said this, even when left alone, Leighton still maintains his poise and simplicity. In a shootout against Carolina, he stopped both shots, one by Jussi Jokinen who is known for his ability to score a ton of shootout goals. When I think about it, the Carolina players would have practised shootouts with Leighton many times, but I don't know who'd have the advantage in familiar goalie/skater situations.
Leighton has taken full advantage of this opportunity, and may receive many more such opportunities in the future because of the way he handled this one. I can't wait for Emery to come back from injury and be that missing piece that completes "humpty dumpty," but until then, I am more than happy with Michael Leighton minding the net.