At the start of last season, Sergei Bobrovsky(notes) was the great goaltending hope for the Philadelphia Flyers, outplaying Marc-Andre Fleury(notes) in his NHL debut and eventually placing seventh in the Calder Trophy voting for rookie of the year. This summer, life changed for him, and not just because he was recently married. The Flyers signed former Phoenix Coyotes goalie Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) to a 9-year contract, handing him the starting goalie job. Is Bobrovsky content to be a backup in Philadelphia? Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport spoke with Bobrovsky recently and asked him several questions Puck Daddy passed along about the upcoming NHL season; his thoughts on the Bryzgalov signing and the trades of Jeff Carter(notes) and Mike Richards(notes); and, of course, married life. Here's the interview: Q. What did you learn in your first year in the NHL? BOBROVSKY: I learned a lot when it comes to American life and hockey. I saw what a serious team with big ambitions is. I saw how athletes and their relatives are treated; how a coach works with you at practices. Skating, techniques, physiological training; how to survive the marathon that the NHL regular season is, when there are games every other day and you are under pressure every time. And then a new season starts — the playoffs, and the pressure there is even greater, and you are not allowed to lose. An entire world opened up for me! What did you keep as a memento from the debut year? The puck from the first game when we played at the Pittsburgh Penguins. Also the League framed an official game sheet from that game and sent it to me. Were you surprised when the Flyers traded captain Mike Richards and Jeff Carter? I heard the news when I was in Greece. I went online and exclaimed from the surprise. Carter and Richards are two big players and persons for Philadelphia. The backbone of the team. The captain and his assistant. I couldn't imagine they would both leave in one sweep. Is it true that Chris Pronger(notes) was the real captain in the locker room? It all depends. The team didn't have a rule that only the person wearing a 'C' could talk. When needed, everyone had a chance to say something, not just Pronger, but Richards, Briere, Giroux… Everyone gave advice, motivated their teammates. And this summer the Flyers signed a contract with Ilya Bryzgalov placing a barrier on the way of a rookie Sergei Bobrovsky. Actually Bryzgalov's arrival didn't shock me. Every newspaper wrote that goaltending is Philadelphia's weakest spot. Additionally, Ilya was first traded to us and only a week later he signed his contract. It wasn't a surprise. I don't agree about the barrier. Brian Boucher's(notes) contract expired. Michael Leighton(notes) stayed. Bryzgalov came. But I don't care what last names team goaltenders have. I have my own goals, objectives. I want to help Philadelphia and will continue to improve my game. Ilya Bryzgalov told Sovetsky Sport that this is "wolf's world. Especially for goaltenders. There are so many of them and there is only one place in goal." I agree. Competition is very tough. No one wants to be number two… Of course we won't sharpen each other's skates. But healthy working relationship is the engine for progress. There was a consistent talk that Flyers' General Manager Paul Holmgren was going to trade Bobrovsky. The Flyers have a few goaltenders and your [cap hit] is quite high. What can you say about that? These are just rumors. Maybe you asked for a trade yourself through your agent? Semyon Varlamov(notes) moved from Washington to Colorado and now he has different horizons in front of him. I didn't even have it in my thoughts to ask for a trade! Nothing terrible happened. There is just a new person in the club. Why should I move to a different team because of that? I like everything in Philadelphia. I want to compete for a roster spot, to play for the Stanley Cup with the guys. We have an ambitious club. Do you know Bryzgalov? We have never met. We'll see each other in Philadelphia.
Chatting with Flyers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky about Bryzgalov, trading Carter/Richards, Pronger as captain and life as newlywed
Yahoo! Sports | Aug 23