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The Story of Bob

by Joe Siville / Philadelphia Flyers
Heading into preseason not too many fans knew about Sergei Bobrovsky.

During a preseason in which he went 3-0-1 with a 1.76 GAA and .939 save percentage, still not too many fans knew about Sergei Bobrovsky.

Sergei Bobrovsky's #35 hangs up in his stall before a game.
And when’s ‘On The Fly’ became the first to break the news that he would be the starting goaltender in the Flyers’ season opening game at Pittsburgh against Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins, again, no one really knew much about Sergei Bobrovsky.

Well, ask any Flyers fan now who Sergei Bobrovsky is and they will most certainly say ‘oh yeah absolutely’. They might even scream something to the effect of ‘bob, Bob, BOB!’ repeatedly.

“It’s very pleasant to hear that,” said Bobrovsky about the Flyers faithful shouting his nickname during a game. “Of course I do.  I hear it.  At first it’s really great, but they are not going to like you if don’t play well and win.”

After going 7-2-0 with a 2.23 GAA and .921 save percentage thus far, not to mention backstopping the Flyers during their current five-game winning streak where he has an impressive 1.81 GAA and .937 save percentage, Bobrovsky is starting to make headlines around Philadelphia.

FLYERS TV:  Holmgren on Bob // Pronger video

“I think he’s been pretty good since the start of training camp,” said Flyers GM Paul Holmgren. “Jeff [Reese] has worked with him on some things and tweaked where he is in the net and I think that’s helped him.”

He is currently tied for third in the NHL with his seven wins, and is hovering around the top 10 in GAA & save percentage.

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Bobrovsky was the youngest Flyers goaltender in history to start in a season opening game at 22-years-old and 17 days.

But what you probably don’t know about “Bobs” is where he came from and how the Flyers organization found him.

Bobrovsky played in the World Junior tournament for Russia in the 2005-06 season with Washington netminder Semyon Varlamov and was eligible in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft along with Varlamov.

“We actually talked about him,” said Holmgren who had three second-round picks in that draft. “It was just a case of being afraid. We’re afraid to take Russian players, I don’t think we’re the only team, because they’re very hard to get signed.”

We followed him the last couple of years in the Kontinental Hockey League. Ken Hoodikoff is the guy who we have working for us. He lives in Russia and he followed him a lot last year. Our other guys Ilkka [Sinisalo] and Matti [Kautto] saw him a lot too, so to say that they discovered him is a long shot.”

The long shot part is exactly what many believed were his chances to play in the NHL right away.

But not Bobrovsky.

His demeanor throughout training camp has been one that has stuck all year. This was his goal and he continues to work hard in accomplishing it.

“He’s quick. He’s got a good work ethic and that’s a good combination to have,” said Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette.

Sergei Bobrovsky talks to the media post game with a translator.
Bobrovsky seems not to care whether he is facing Sidney Crosby or the Pittsburgh Penguins, Steven Stamkos and the high scoring Tampa Bay Lightning or the pressures of playing at home in front of the Philadelphia crowd.

His attitude even goes as far as not caring about any personal glory or how he played on a particular night.

Bobrovsky’s main concern is that of one thing, the crest on the jersey. A good game to him is one that the team wins, not how many saves he makes.

At the moment, Bobrovsky may not be too focused on himself, but he is accomplishing what he set out to do – help the Philadelphia Flyers win hockey games.

Something Flyers defenseman Chris Pronger knows something about.

“He’s stopping the puck out there. That’s his job,” said Pronger. “[And] He’s been earning the job. I don’t think anyone can question that.”

No one knows what the future holds for Bobrovsky, but at 22-years-old and a strong work ethic, he seems to have earned his place in among National Hockey League goaltenders.

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