I give my thanks to hockey

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I wanted to give my top five things I am thankful for this 2010-11 hockey season.

Who in Philadelphia isn't thankful for Sergei Bobrovsky? (Len Redkoles/NHLI)

Who in Philadelphia isn’t thankful for Sergei Bobrovsky? (Len Redkoles/NHLI)

1. Philadelphia Flyers – I will say grace to Paul Holmgren and Peter Laviolette tonight as I sit around the table. Holmgren saw the weaknesses and went out and found the missing pieces the team needed. And Laviolette…well, what is there to say about him? He is a fantastic coach. He pushes this team to new heights and won’t accept mediocrity. And then there is just this team in general. Jeff Carter is on his way to another 40+ goal season. Mike Richards is on his way to an 85+ point season. The Scott HartnellDanny BriereVille Leino line sends chills down my spine every time they take the ice. Claude Giroux…oh my, Giroux…want to talk about a breakout season for the dazzling 22-year-old? He can score in every situation – even strength, power play, shorthanded, you name it, he can score on it. He is on his way to a 40+ goal and 80+ point season. Every single forward on the team has scored at least one goal. The defense has been standing tall in the Flyers end, only allowing 28.7 shots per game, ninth best in the NHL. And finally, I give thanks to B-O-B. That’s right, the Flyers actually have a legitimate, real, No. 1 goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky. Words can’t describe my excitement for him. BOB! BOB! BOBBBB!!! BOB!

23 games into the season, the Flyers stand atop of not only the Atlantic Division, not only the Eastern Conference, but are first in the entire NHL with 32 points. They have outscored the opponents 84-56. They are 9-1 when leading after the first period and 10-2-1 when scoring the first goal. They have already gone on a six-game win streak and a 10-game point streak. In those 10 games, they went 9-0-1, outscoring opponents 44-17 and Bobrovsky, who started all 10 games, had a 1.70 GAA and .946 SV%. Bobrovsky is tied for second in the NHL in wins (12), ninth in GAA (2.21) and seventh in SV% (.925). Richards is 12th in the NHL in points (24). Carter is tied for first in game-winning goals (4). Giroux is 14th in points (23), seventh in goals (12), second in power play goals (6) and first in shorthanded goals (3) . Sean O’Donnell leads the league in plus-minus (plus-17) and Andrej Meszaros is third (plus-15). Other teams must shake in their skates when they have to play the Flyers.

2. Steven Stamkos – Oh how I love this kid. After a so-so rookie campaign where he was even benched at one point, Stamkos broke out last season. Sophomore slump? Not for the Stammer. He shared the Rocket Richard with Sidney Crosby last season with 51 goals. And Stammer has not slowed at all this season. He has 21 goals in 22 games and there’s talk of the possibility of 50-in-50, which has only been achieved eight times in NHL history and not since Brett Hull in 1991-92. And finally…FINALLY…it is no longer the Crosby-Alex Ovechkin show in the NHL. Now there’s a new name in town and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it.

3. 2011 NHL All-Star Game – This new format is sure to elevate the excitement for this year’s All-Star Game. A fantasy draft done by the players themselves? Who on earth thought this one up?!? It’s brilliant! It’s something that will keep hockey nerds like myself awake at night wondering who will be voted captain and then who will they pick? Who gets chosen last? Will they pick teammates or snub them? Oh, the possibilities this creates! I, for one, can’t wait to see this happen. By the way…don’t forget to vote before you fall asleep from the turkey coma.

4. Chicago Blackhawks 11-11-2 Record – It’s mean, I know. And I do still kind of like the Blackhawks because I have for a few years. But that Stanley Cup win still stings…a lot. So seeing their bi-polar season of “win one big, lose one big” makes me feel a bit happy. Granted, I still love Patrick Sharp and semi-love Jonathan Toews, and semi-semi-love Patrick Kane, but their suffering and the Flyers countless amounts of win makes my heart grow three sizes…oh wait, wrong holiday.

5. Michael Leighton‘s Back – Again, another mean sounding one. But if it wasn’t for Leighton’s back injury, Bobrovsky would currently be down with the Adirondack Phantoms. And more than likely, he would be crying to be sent back to the KHL after seeing how bad the Phantoms are this season. But alas, Leighton’s out with surgery and the Flyers need a new backup for Brian Boucher. But wait, who’s this Bobo-or-whatever kid? Did he just beat the Penguins in his first ever NHL game?!? Holy eff, he just started 12 straight games with a 9-1-1 record!! Oh the wonders of Bobrovsky. Thank you Leighton for your injury, as mean as it sounds, but it’s so true.

You’ve read my five things I am thankful for, now I want to know yours. Feel free to post your agreements, disagreements and your five things!

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Categories: Ice Hockey, NHL, Sports

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