So far, Parent likes what he sees of Flyers' Bobrovsky

Sergei Bobrovsky has impressed Bernie Parent with the way he moves around the goal.
Sergei Bobrovsky has impressed Bernie Parent with the way he moves around the goal.
Posted: October 16, 2010

BERNIE PARENT knows goaltenders.

And he thinks the Flyers might have found a diamond-in-the-rough in Russian rookie Sergei Bobrovsky, who could make his third career NHL start tonight, against Evgeni Malkin and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Like so many others surrounding the Flyers organization, Parent has been impressed with Bobrovsky's quickness and athleticism. In his first two starts, both wins, Bobrovsky has stopped 54 of 58 shots for a .931 save percentage.

"He does a lot of good things," Parent said. "I love goalies that move well side-to-side. It's very, very important, especially in today's game, it moves back-and-forth so fast. He reads the plays pretty good. He is square to the shooters."

Parent, who backstopped the Flyers to their only two Stanley Cup parades and is the only goal-tender in franchise history to have his number retired, does not know Bobrovsky well. Bobrovsky told a Russian website earlier this week that he is learning more and more English every day but finds it "hard to speak."

"I wouldn't say that I'm experiencing big problems because I don't understand the language," Bobrovsky told his former team Metallurg Novokuznetsk's website as translated by BroadStreet Hockey.com. "I understand what they want from me, but it's hard to speak. The whole team is a bunch of good guys and the atmosphere in general is terrific. I don't feel uncomfortable in this team for not speaking the same language."

Parent, who still goes by "Frenchy" because of his thick French-Canadian accent, can sympathize.

"I haven't had a chance to talk to him - I don't think he speaks English very good - but that's all right," Parent said. "You don't need to speak English to play well."

Parent, now 65, has been impressed by Bobrovsky's poise, patience and calmness. He is rarely rattled or not in control. He held the Penguins to two third-period goals in his NHL debut.

"There's a lot to say about that," Parent said. "He didn't wake up every day growing up thinking about the players in the National Hockey League. Then once you get here, you get nervous. And it's difficult to perform. He obviously hasn't gone through that and it shows. That's impressive."

So what advice would the Flyers' legend give the rookie?

"Stop the puck," Parent said with a grin. "My first advice to him would be that you've never arrived. You've got to keep improving all of the time, because when you think you have it made, then someone will find a weakness. If you're not willing to work on that weakness and improve, then you have problems. The best advice for a goalie is that when you have a couple [of bad] games, you go on the ice the next day [at practice] and try and duplicate those same plays and try and figure out what you did wrong. That helps."

For now, Parent will sit back and watch the 22-year-old blossom. Having witnessed so many highly touted goaltenders come through Philadelphia over the years and falter, nothing still thrills Parent more than seeing a young player win with a future as bright as Bobrovsky.

"It's fun," Parent said. "A lot of good goalies have been around, but they've never seemed to pan out. It's exciting to watch. You see a young kid perform and watching the crowd react to that, that's the beauty of it."

Walking slowly

As first reported by the Daily News, defenseman Matt Walker might need surgery to repair his nagging hip/groin injury. Walker has received multiple opinions from doctors, according to general manager Paul Holmgren.

Holmgren said Walker, who was acquired in the trade for Simon Gagne in July, could miss "considerable" time, up to 3 months. A final decision could come as soon as Monday.

Slap shots

Tonight's game against Pittsburgh has been moved up 1 hour to a 6 o'clock faceoff to accommodate fan interest and traffic at the sports complex for Game 1 of the NLCS . . . Penguins defenseman Zybnek Michalek and former Flyer Arron Asham are out of the lineup for 2 weeks with shoulder injuries.

For more news and analysis, read Frank Seravalli's blog, Frequent Flyers, at

http://go.philly.com/frequentflyers. Follow him on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/DNFlyers.

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