By Chris Schaefer
OK, I’ve been saying it since the Flyers reacquired him from the San Jose Sharks: Brian Boucher is the Flyers #1 Goaltender. Boosh has proved himself time and time again for the Flyers organization and it’s nice to see him finally get the shine he deserves. He’s been called “old,” “streaky,” and “not worthy” among other things, and with the emergence of Flyers’ rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in the preseason and early in the regular season he was destined to be the back up in Philly for another year. Brian played his part. He kept his head low, practiced hard and mentored “Bob” to the best of his ability.
Bobrovsky got the first start of the season and Flyers fans wondered what would happen to him when Michael Leighton got healthy. The only question regarding goalies in Philly was would it be “Bob” or “Leights?” As far as most fans and experts were concerned, Boucher would be waived upon Leighton’s return.
Fast-forward 3 months. Bobrovsky lost heat after an amazing start and the Flyers needed to give him a break. Boucher stepped in as he always does and stood on his head. He kept the Flyers in games that could’ve been blowouts. He won games with point-blank saves with the clock expiring. He showed off his fundamentals and made the routine saves that other Flyers’ goalies couldn’t.
On December 30th, 2010 the Flyers traveled to LA to take on the Kings. I was in attendance and was really excited to see my first Flyers game of the season in person. I wondered if Bobrovsky would be in net or if it’d be Boucher. I was busy all day and didn’t get a chance to read the game preview or see which goalie was first off the ice in practice which usually determines the starter. To my surprise Leighton was on the ice and took most of the shots in the pregame warm up.
Little did I know that would be Michael Leighton’s last game in the orange and black. Sure, there is a chance that one or both of the current Flyers goalies can get hurt and Leighton will be back but I seriously doubt it.
This isn’t an article to bash Leighton. This is an article written to sing praises of Brian Boucher. With Leighton in the rearview Boucher is no longer looking over his shoulder. The starting job is his to lose.
On his 34th birthday Boucher got a hell of a present. He became the first Flyers goalie to log a win in Hockeytown since 1988. His demeanor hasn’t changed all season. He’s embracing his opportunity much like he did in his first stint with the Flyers. He’s ready to go when called upon and is focusing on staying healthy and playing well. A guy like this deserves all the credit he can get and it’s no wonder he’s a fan favorite.
As Michael Vick prepares his Eagles this week for the playoffs there’s a less outspoken leader across the street tending to his crease. He’s shown the same type of brilliance as Vick and surprised just as many people.
Boucher has been the leader the Flyers are looking for. He is the calm locker room presence that they needed. He is the team player that has brought this squad together time and time again. Brian Boucher is the goalie the Flyers have been looking for all these years. He is the guy that has been sitting all alone on the bench cheering on his teammates until he got his turn to contribute on the ice.
Also read my article written in November on BR regarding the Flyers goaltending situation: Philadelphia Flyers Should Keep Bobrovsky and Trade Michael Leighton
This article was also published here:Bleacher Report