Peter Laviolette Was Satisfied With The Flyers Effort Against The Sabres, Describes Process Of Juggling GoaltendersApril 29, 2011 – 7:15 am by Steven Cuce
Peter Laviolette went into the Eastern Conference quarterfinals confident that his team could handle the Sabres even though Buffalo had been unbeaten in twenty of their last twenty-four games going into the postseason with a hot goaltender in Ryan Miller. The series against Buffalo was anything but easy for Philadelphia, shuffling goaltenders virtually every game after starting rookie net-miner Sergei Bobrovsky in game one.
Brian Boucher rose to the task in game seven remaining steady between the pipes in a 5-2 thrashing of Sabres. Boucher looks to have won himself the goaltending job, but you know never with the way Laviolette has been indecisive with his three goaltenders on his roster. Who would have thought a two-seeded playoff team could use three goaltenders and win a series? Laviolette claims he’s not a fan of assessing his coaching after a series to the media and feels confident his team is playing good hockey moving into the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against Boston.
Peter Laviolette joined 97.5 the Fanatic in Philadelphia withMike Missanelli to discuss his feeling going into game seven of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Buffalo Sabres, his assessment on how he handled the Flyers goaltending situation, the process behind taking out Sergei Bobrovsky, Danny Briere being tougher than most Flyers fans thought and possibly having Chris Pronger back at full health.
Did you have the feeling that kind of effort was coming in game seven against Buffalo?
“Yeah, you know I think I liked the way we played in a lot of games there was…we ended up in seven games and I thought we played well enough to win them all. You know for whatever reason we had a tough couple of starts and than Ryan Miller won a couples of games and pitched shutouts and we weren’t able to score goals. We get to a game seven. We are in our building. We really wanted to be even though we lost a couple of games there in the series we really wanted to be on home ice and we talked about it all year not finishing first in the conference to win the trophy, but to get home ice and last night was a good example. The building was absolutely rocking, tons of energy in there and guys came out really hard charging and that’s probably the best we played all year. What was frustrating about it was we didn’t score until maybe thirty seconds left in the period, but I thought the period was terrific.”
Your assessment of how you handled the goaltending situation in this series?
“My assessment of it? I don’t typically assess myself. I have enough people that assess me including you so…You know what I love about your show? You get a caller that calls in and they say and they’re adamant that the color is white okay and within 30 not even 20 seconds of you talking after they say they’re adamant that the color is white you say well white has some cracks in it. I really like white and within ten seconds that person says ‘Yeah you’re right Mike it’s black.'”
What was the process behind banishing Sergei Bobrovsky and not making him part of the whole thing? What was the aim of doing that after the one bad game he had?
“Right. We saw some things with [Sergei] Bobrovsky that we wanted to work with him and take him out of that mix. This is a young goaltender that’s played more games than he’s ever played in his life in a season and yet he played well enough to earn an opportunity, but down the stretch [Jeff] Reese some things we would like to work with…and then in the first game there wasn’t a lot of work and then in the second game it showed again. So you know once we knew we were going to go with Boucher it was an opportunity and Michael Leighton back in the fold you know since being recalled it was an opportunity to remove him from the game environment and in the stress environment completely and for Jeff [Reese] to take him on the ice, work with him in video, talk to him, work on different parts of his game and there’s that. Even thought you’re a backup you still have to go through all the game routines and getting involved in the game for possibly not playing. We felt that Michael Leighton was on top of his game. This was a guy last year who carried us through certain parts of the season when we didn’t have a goaltender down the stretch. He was a big part of what happened and then in the playoffs you know him tagging off with Brian with the injuries. You know Michael had done well and he was stuck with some unfortunate set of circumstances with his back surgery. He goes down to the minors and in the minors he’s probably the top goaltender down there and he had five shutouts and his last two games were back-to-back shutouts. He came up and looked really good in practice, so we felt Michael Leighton could do the job as a backup without any problem whatsoever and is used to the Stanley Cup and the pressures and what goes on with that. You know it was a good opportunity to take Bobrovsky, work with him, get him ready and get him prepared for [the rest of the series].”
One thing that came to light for Flyers fan is that Danny Briere is tougher than we all thought?
“Well there’s some people who I think over the course of the career they get ‘tagged’ or ‘marked’. They’re big time players. It’s not the guy who does it once and awhile, but it’s the person who does it all the time and throughout his career you look at statistically what he has done in the playoffs and he takes it to the next level. You know I remember when I was coaching in Carolina and we played Buffalo in the Conference Finals and Danny was on Buffalo at that point and I was totally impressed with this guy and his ability to…you know he’s not a big guy. They wanted to log that Tyler Myers against him who is probably as tall as [Chris] Pronger and as big as Pronger and that was the matchup and it’s such a you know ‘David and Goliath’ matchup. Danny came out the leading scorer and did such a terrific job for us, but he did back than, he did last year in the playoffs, and he’s off to a good start this year in the playoffs.”
Do you expect to have Chris Pronger back at full strength?
“Yeah, I mean he took a regular shift last night. You know it wasn’t complete and all out. It was pretty darn good and having him back out there was just…he calms things down. He makes little plays. He agitates a little bit and irritates a little bit. He helps on the power play and does so many good things for us to get him back in there. He’s only going to get stronger now as time moves on.”