Leighton back surgery keeps Bobrovsky with Flyers
The annual soap opera that is goaltending in Philadelphia took another surprise turn on Friday with news that incumbent No.1 Michael Leighton needs surgery for a bulging disk in his back and will be out for the next six to eight weeks.
The announcement comes a day after Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette shocked many, including expected starter Brian Boucher, by starting impressive Russian rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in their season-opening game in Pittsburgh. The 22-year-old, signed in April as an undrafted free agent out of Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League, responded by keeping Philadelphia in the game by stopping all 15 shots in the first period and 29 overall en route to a 3-2 victory over the Penguins.
Bobrovsky was already gaining a cult-like following in Philadelphia, and news he will be around even longer, combined with another strong showing in an expected start in St. Louis on Saturday, will only grow the legend of “Bob” among a Flyers fan base starved for its first homegrown goaltending star since Ron Hextall. It also gives InGoal Magazine another chance to link to our feature on the incredibly fast rise of Bobrovsky from Russian standout to potential NHL star.