Brian Boucher once again comes into a predicament he didn’t expect to happen, at least this quickly. Boucher will open the Flyers season as the club’s number one netminder due to a back injury to initial starter, Michael Leighton.
For Boucher, 33, it’s another chance to prove he’s still a number one option for a team who might need him more often than they originally thought.
“I feel like I’ve had a good camp,” Boucher said after Friday’s 3-1 win over the Islanders. “Your goal is to make sure when the regular season starts, you feel really good about your game. And I think that’s where I’m at right now.”
Boucher, who’s had an impressive training camp, knows how quickly a goalie can go from being the center of a team’s success to being back on the bench backing up. With the preseason over, Boucher can look back at his three wins and smile, with pucks staying in front of him instead of screaming behind him into the net.
With Leighton out for approximately one month, Boucher will play a huge role in how successful the Flyers will be once Leighton is ready to return to action. Boucher is now healthy and should see a lot of time in net with Sergei Bobrovsky filling in here and there.
“I feel more comfortable this year,” said Boucher. “You know the guys. Even though I’ve been here before there’s all new guys so it’s a different situation. But this year I feel more comfortable knowing the guys and after what we accomplished last year we should feel good about ourselves.
“I’m healthy and I was banged up a bit last year but now I feel really good. When you feel real good it translates into your play.”
A healthy Boucher was impressive throughout the preseason where pucks seemed to stick to his pads. Long and bouncing rebounds were scarce, which bodes well for a goaltender like Boucher, who isn’t the quickest of men at his position.
Bobrovsky, 22, will begin the season as the backup to Boosh, and according to GM Paul Holmgren Monday afternoon, he will see some game action as early as one of the first three games. Boucher plans on playing mentor to the young Russian phenom, who has played really well since given the opportunity for more playing time with the injury to Johan Backlund.
“I think I deserve all the credit,” Boucher said jokingly about Bobrovsky.
“No, he’s been great. He’s quick, agile, energetic, and is very excited to be at the rink everyday and that becomes contagious. The Flyers should be proud that they have depth in goal.”
Whether or not Leighton comes back healthy and effective is still a question, however, one thing is for certain in the mind of Boucher, don’t take anything for granted and just show up to the rink everyday to prepare and find ways to help this team win hockey games.
The Flyers will begin their quest to return to the Stanley Cup Thursday when they open the Pittsburgh Penguins’ new Consol Energy Center at 7pm.