The future is apparently now for the Philadelphia Flyers.
In a stunning announcement, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette has confirmed through the team's official website that 22-year-old rookie Sergei Bobrovsky will indeed be between the pipes tonight when the curtain is raised on the 2010-11 NHL season in Pittsburgh.
“It's not just based on a day or two,” Laviolette told the Flyers website. “From the time he’s been here he’s been sharp. Every game, every situation, every practice, every scrimmage, he’s looked really good.
"I think Boosh [Brian Boucher] came in and he played well. I think it’s nice to have two goaltenders [playing well], you’ll see both early in the season, but we had to have a starting point somewhere and I really like the way [Bobrovsky’s] put together a body of work the last month.”
Nobody ever knows how a player, particularly a goalie, will react in his first action at the NHL level. Tonight presents the perfect opportunity to see just how Bobrovsky will react. There is absolutely zero pressure on him. It's the first of 82 games, on the road, and with the full support of his teammates.
“He’s come in and proven that he can play in this league, so why not give him a chance?” said Flyers captain Mike Richards.
This announcement has made an already exciting night that much more intriguing. Here's hoping that Bobrovsky will eventually put to rest the incessant search for the next franchise goaltender.
Meanwhile, defenseman Chris Pronger has been listed as a game time decision for tonight.
Based on his out of character silence all week on the matter, I had been leaning towards Pronger not being in the lineup tonight. However, I may have changed my opinion after hearing that he looked good in the morning skate today in Pittsburgh.
Pronger is a smart veteran. You don't play 16 seasons without making good decisions, and he knows this is just one game, so if he doesn't feel right, he won't be out there. Something tells me we will see him tonight though.
Andreas Nodl was also recalled from Adirondack, as expected, after the team placed Michael Leighton on long-term injured reserve. Nodl will be available to play tonight if Coach Laviolette decides to go that way.