PHILADELPHIA Ė Sergei Bobrovsky(notes) walks into the dressing room after the morning skate, and his teammates make sure to greet him enthusiastically. Andrej Meszaros(notes) looks up and smiles. He speaks loudly.
ďWhatís up, Bob?Ē he says.
ĎBobí smiles back. He nods. He says nothing.
What can he say? Bob is 20-6-3 and has won his past five games in goal for the Philadelphia Flyers, who are tied with the Vancouver Canucks atop the NHL standings. He has done it even though he is only 22, an undrafted free agent, new not only to the NHL but to North America.
Some things have been lost in translation. Some things are just new. Earlier this season, the Flyers bonded by playing golf in Pinehurst, N.C., before visiting the Carolina Hurricanes. Bobrovsky, who had never played golf before, wore dress shoes on the course.
But Bobís personality has translated just fine. At a team dinner in Pinehurst, the Flyers took turns telling jokes. Bob contributed one, too. He just needed some help from Latvian teammate Oskars Bartulis(notes). (The joke cannot be repeated here in any language.)
I just hope they give him ample rest down the stretch, so he doesn't burn out. He's already at 31 games played, and played a total of 35 last year, and 32 the year before.
Oh Christ, he's 22 years old. If he needs rest because he's "tired" from playing, then he needs to be checked out. He's barely a man at 22 and he should be full of pee and vinegar wanting to play.
At this point, with his career progression, he should be able to play in 50 games with no problem. And it's not him I'm worried about. Boucher has been so up and down throughout his career, what worries me is when he's going to tank again because you know it's going to happen soon.