Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky Is Busy, But Other Goalies Are Busier

MONTREAL - NOVEMBER 16: Sergei Bobrovsky  stops the puck in front of Andrej Meszaros  of the Philadelphia Flyers and Scott Gomez  of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on November 16, 2010 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

I like how Flyers coach Peter Laviolette is denying goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is tired, even as Bobrovsky (maybe) says he is.

I don’t doubt Bobrovsky is tired but I’m just as sure he doesn’t want to say anything about it to his coach. Players never want to not play. But I think a good number appreciate a coach who recognizes when they need some rest.

And after last night’s 15-goal Tampa-Philadelphia game, four goals of which were pinned on Bobrovsky in the first period, maybe Laviolette is ready to entertain the notion his rookie goalie is tired.

I was curious if Bobrovsky’s workload was super crazy, so I compared him to other NHL goalies who have played at least 14 games this season.

Bobrovsky’s 16 starts is up there in terms of games played, but when you temper the starts with the number of games played by the team, you see Bobrovsky is in the bottom third, starting just 80% of his team’s games.

Poor Carey Price has started 95% of Montreal’s games. And Martin Brodeur has started 89% of New Jersey’s games, all the more amazing given a) he’s already been injured this season and b) he’s crazy old.

So Bobrovsky is busy, but there are goalies that are shouldering a heavier workload, in terms of percentage of games started.

If you look at the list, you basically see four situations which results in a lot of starts for a goalie:

  1. Big name goalie: A team has a great goalie so they want to play them as much as they can. These are historic stars like Brodeur and Miikka Kiprusoff and even Marty Turco for Chicago. Past performance dictates their starts.
  2. Name goalie: A strong goalie, but not a hockey household name. Guys like Cam Ward and Ilya Bryzgalov and Kari Lehtonen. Basically, the guys who earn their starts season after season but aren’t guaranteed their starts.
  3. Hot goalie: These are guys who are playing well at the moment. Guys like Bobrovsky, who I think has been a bit of a surprise for the Flyers. Also, Washington’s Michal Neuvirth, who’s played 17 games this season, the same number he played ALL of last season. There’s no guarantee they’ll even be around at the end of this season.
  4. No better option goalies: Nikolai Khabibulin owns this spot. Obviously, he could also be considered a big name goalie, but his reputation has taken a huge hit the past season or so. Ottawa’s Brian Elliott can also be slotted in here.

So basically, Bobrovsky is right that he’s tired, if last night’s game is any indication, but Laviolette doesn’t need to feel guilty about the rookie goalie’s workload.

But Laviolette might consider learning to read Russian to get a better sense of where his goalie’s head is at.