NHL Notebook: Sergei Bobrovsky giving Florida Panthers a chance, Calder Trophy snubs, and more

Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
11 months ago
A major key to the success the Flordia Panthers have had in these playoffs so far has been the play of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky.
He’s drawn in for six games so far in the playoffs posting a 4-1 record and a .901 save percentage. While his numbers aren’t flashy, Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis opines, his play has been where it needs to be:
Bobrovsky’s surface-level stats might not be anything special right now. But if you’ve watched the Panthers recently, it’s clear: he’s a huge reason why the Cats are still fighting. After losing the starting gig to third-stringer Alex Lyon, Bobrvosky was called in for Game 4 of the first round against the Boston Bruins but ultimately lost that contest. Surprisingly at the time, coach Paul Maurice elected to start him again the next game, and he delivered with 44 stops in an OT victory. Bobrovsky won the final two games to help lift the Panthers to the second round, marking a miraculous comeback for the ages.
Bobrovsky stopped 34 shots on Tuesday in a Game 1 win over Toronto to keep the little streak going. It’s the first time Bobrovsky has won four times in a row this season, and they’ve easily been the four most important wins. He might not be the reason why the Panthers secured a playoff spot in the end, but he’s doing whatever it takes to keep the dream alive.
Through six outings, which included a brief relief effort, Bobrovsky has a .933 save percentage and 1.46 goals saved above average at 5-on-5. Both are significantly better than his compadre at the other end, Ilya Samsonov, who boasts a .900 SP and minus-3.72 GSAA. Given Florida’s opponents, Officer Bobrvosky has been busy, as expected. So while his regular stats aren’t great, the advanced analytics play more into his favor. And the reality is: Bobrovsky is winning when it matters.
“I’m staying dwith the moment and I don’t really think about where my game is,” Bobrovsky said. “I’m enjoying playing playoff hockey, enjoying being part of this great group of guys and just fortunate to be here.”

Calder trophy snubs

While Edmonton Oilers netminder Stuart Skinner made it as a finalst for the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie, there’s already talk of some rookies who are on the outside looking in when it comes to voting.
And on Daily Faceoff Live Thursday, Frank Seravalli and Chicago Blackhawks analyst Colby Cohen dove into some players who could’ve had a better look:
Seravalli: Colby, my question for you as the Calder Trophy finalists were announced Wednesday for Rookie of the Year, which includes Beniers, Power and Skinner. Is there an under-appreciated rookie in your mind, someone who didn’t get enough love this year?
Cohen: Yeah, I picked a guy by the name of Wyatt Johnston. I think he’s somewhat flying under the radar in Dallas; he’s got a bunch of star players in front of him, with guys like Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz,  Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. So I’m not sure Johnston gets the hype that some of these rookies get. This is a 19-year-old 2021 first-round pick who scored 24 goals in the regular season this year. He played all 82 games, which is difficult to do as a rookie, and he’s played every game in the playoffs so far. The fact that he’s been able to play the Center position and Frank, when do you see an 18 or 19-year-old come into the league and play Center right away? So often, players break in on the wing as coaches don’t trust them defensively. To see Johnston playing on the second and third line feels to me like he’s a guy who is underrated and probably not talked about quite enough.
Seravalli: The Johnston answer is a good one; he factored into my Calder ballot for sure. He’s also the youngest player in the last 30 years to score a series-clinching goal like he did for the Stars in round one; he’s been incredibly impressive. I’m going to say one guy who didn’t get enough love is Jake Sanderson of the Ottawa Senators. He played 22 minutes a night and registered 32 points as a 20-year-old. I thought that was an impressive season and what’s most exciting for the Senators there.

Sutter’s messy legacy

It’s been not even a week since the Calgary Flames fired head coach Darryl Sutter after a tumultuous season marking an unceremonious end to his second tenure with the club.
While Sutter coached the Flames to a Stanley Cup appearance in 2003-04 — one the team would lose — he had been regarded as one of the most successful coaches in franchise history.
But as Flamesnation’s Ryan Pike writes, he leaves behind a messy legacy:
After being in hockey for most of his life, Sutter could be counted on for two things: really engaging anecdotes about hockey history, and an acerbic, occasionally very combative, wit. He frequently pushed back against perceived media narratives, and regularly engaged in back-and-forth exchanges with media members when he didn’t appreciate lines of questioning. He could be counted on for entertaining media sessions, but on occasionally his quips would veer past the line of good taste (“He was taking a shit,” on a Jonathan Huberdeau absence during a game) or be used to send messages (“What number is he?” after Jakob Pelletier’s NHL debut).
When things were going well for the Flames, Sutter was a commanding, demanding presence who knew what buttons to push to get the desired results. When things weren’t going well, that presence devolved – during both of his tenures – into what’s been termed a “black cloud” around the club. Even though the players were grown men pursuing their life-long dreams to play professional sports, too often during the “black cloud” regime it seemed forbidden for them to attempt to have any fun.
Sutter was part of the Flames for a decade. Sometimes he was a big positive for the club. Sometimes he was a significant negative for the club. For better or for worse, he was never boring. He leaves behind a large, complicated legacy.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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