For years, oh so many long dreadful years, the Philadelphia organization has been one to create many questions about the team preparing to hit the ice at the start of every year.
And for many years it seemed one common question would be asked to both end and start the season: who will man the goal for the Flyers?
This season the organization has three goaltenders signed on. Michael Leighton, who was the journeyman turned hero last year amongst the Philadelphia faithful. Brian Boucher, back with the team for the third time in his career. The next name you will read, you may not be too familiar with: Sergei Bobrovsky.
Bobrovsky, the Russian goaltender who was signed by the Flyers last season as a free agent, has been hyped enough so much that many were wondering if the Flyers future finally had a bright spot in net.
Last night, that future began.
With the NHL season kicking off, the schedule had one of the most fierce rivalries on board to start the year on national television. These Philadelphia Flyers would be on the road to open up against cross-state rival and a team who had quite a bit of momentum on their side even prior to the puck being dropped due to the opening of a new arena, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Sidney Crosby and company on home ice, with Mario there to christen the building, and one of the better ways to get the season going.
For the Flyers, they were without their starter, Leighton, star defensman Chris Pronger and irreplaceable forward Ian Laperriere. The bad news and black cloud arrived in Philly even prior to the season's starting.
Last night, none of that mattered. Peter Laviolette, though from his press conference didn't seem to think so, took quite a gamble by naming the stand-out Bobrovsky to start the opener -- in Pittsburgh.
The gamble paid off. Bobrovsky was as close to brilliant as possible in his first ever NHL game against one of the best teams in the league.
The atmosphere would have been enough to have even a solid veteran of the game fall of his game slightly. Last night, CONSOL Energy Center was the place to be, but the hometown fans were left disappointed after dropping a 3-2 tilt to the Flyers.
Bobrovsky ended a brilliant performance by stopping 29 of 31 shots for the win. A solid outing for a goaltender who did not have the best defensive team play in front of him last night.
The Flyers left their rookie goaltender out to dry on many occasions; and aside from bad positioning on Tyler Kennedy's goal, it could have been a much different look on the scoreboard.
After the game, and speaking through interpreter Alex Gluhovsky, Bobrovsky showed the collective cool and calm demeanor, which made it easy to see why Laviolette thought he'd be up to the challenge.
"I was ready for this," said Bobrovsky, who provided a game worthy of just that. Even in the final minutes of the contest, with the mighty Penguins on the powerplay and Marc-Andre Fleury pulled, there was little room for error and 'Bob' answered the call.