Archive for Michael Leighton

Updates: Leighton is Making Progress

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , on November 1, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

Remember Michael Leighton?

The Flyers goaltender who many recall as the man who anchored an unbelievable ride to the Stanley Cup Final last Spring was last in action in a preseason game against the Toronto Maple Leafs this year before taking himself out of the game with a sore back.  That sore back turned out to be a herniated disc in his lumbar region, something that required surgery and has kept Leights out of regular season action so far this season.

However, Michael Leighton is returning.

Michael Leighton's return is not all that far away

According to reports from CSNPhilly.com‘s Tim Panaccio and the Philadelphia Daily News‘ Frank Seravalli, Leighton will begin skating again this week at practice with the Flyers.  Panaccio says Leighton began some light skating over the Halloween weekend at the Skate Zone, and is aiming for a return right around Thanksgiving in a Flyers uniform.  The goal right now, according to Panaccio, is for Leighton to return to practice by November 20.  Back injuries are always difficult for goaltenders to deal with and it’s tough to get excited about Leighton making a return until we officially see him out on the ice sliding post to post and making the necessary cuts in the crease he’ll need to make to stop pucks in a National Hockey League game.

While Leighton’s return will undoubtedly bring about another goaltending controversy as to who is the starter in Philadelphia, it’s never a bad thing to have too many options.  We all remember what Leighton did for this franchise last spring.  There’s no reason not to wish him a continued speedy recovery in the hopes that he can come back and be just as effective this season.

Check out Panaccio’s full article here: FLYERS’ LEIGHTON GETS BACK ON THE ICE

Leighton on the Shelf for 6-8 Weeks; Back Troubles Since Playoffs

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

This is news we knew was coming.  That still doesn’t make any part of it good.  Some tweets for you:

UPDATE: Panaccio, Seravalli, and SanFilippo all reporting via Twitter that Leighton’s bulging disc in his back has become herniated.  Once again, not good.

…This is going to be a tough injury for Leighton to completely recover from.  I agree with Seravalli in questioning why the Flyers signed him to a two-year extension given this predicament with his back.  It’s time for Bobrovsky and Boucher to earn their keep, or the Flyers will have some SERIOUS questions coming at them.  Let’s hope Leights has a speedy recovery.

And the Flyers’ goaltending carousel continues to spin round and round….

Updates: Who Needs A Big Name Goaltender?

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , , , on October 5, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

In today’s Philadelphia Daily News, Frank Seravalli has a piece about the Flyers goaltending situation.

Seravalli is quick to point out that, despite the injury to presumed starter Michael Leighton, and the questions and uncertainties that seemingly always surface in between the pipes of the Flyers’ goal, there may not be a need to worry when it comes to those who tend net in Orange and Black this season.  Think about the last five goaltenders that have won the Cup: Cam Ward, J.S. Giguere, Chris Osgood, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Antti Niemi.  None of those goaltenders are considered in the upper echelon (top 5-8 goaltenders in the league) today and none really can be called “Big names.”  Still, all five have rings, and their names engraved on the Stanley Cup.

Leighton's injury shouldn't leave Flyer fans pessimistic about the situation in net

So, Seravalli says, why worry?  The Flyers proved last season that with the talent they have both offensively and defensively there is no reason that this team can’t contend for and even win a Stanley Cup.  Michael Leighton, a journeyman goaltender who came to Philadelphia by way of a desperate waiver-wire claim, and Brian Boucher, a career back-up, beat a goaltender in every round that was considered better than they (Brodeur, Rask, Halak) until the Flyers were finally defeated in the Cup Final.  They beat those goaltenders because the Flyers as a team were better than those other squads, and, as Seravalli points out, the same is true this season.

I love the way Seravalli finishes his article,

Be it Boucher, Sergei Bobrovsky, Johan Backlund – or, if the Flyers plucked Tommy Soderstrom from the 1994 roster and stuck him in net – they will be just fine. That’s not a knock. The game has changed.

Check out Frank’s article here: FLYERS, OTHER TEAMS HAVE SHOWN YOU DON’T NEED ELITE GOALIE TO WIN BIG

Updates: Laperriere, Leighton Sidelined

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , on September 28, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

In case you were in another hemisphere this afternoon, you probably know the biggest news out of Flyers camp today as the team announced that starting goaltender Michael Leighton and winger Ian Laperriere will both miss extended time with injuries.

Leighton, the goaltender who miraculously led the Flyers to within two wins of the Stanley Cup last season after being a waiver-wire claim, was found to have a bulging disc in his back that will require the recently appointed starting goaltender in Philadelphia to miss at least a month of action.  While a bulging disc in the back is certainly nothing to play around with, the injury scarcely compares to that of Laperriere’s.

Ian Laperriere may be out of action for the Flyers for quite some time

The gritty Flyers winger who has quickly become a fan favorite in the City of Brotherly Love revealed today that he has been suffering from Post-Concussion syndrome, something that has been hampering the 36-year-old since he made an unexpected return from a brain contusion last season.  The condition will keep Lappy off the ice indefinitely, and in turn leave many to wonder if the Flyers handled the situation properly.  Anyone who has dealt with post-concussion syndrome knows it can be a pain and can linger for quite some time – just ask Keith Primeau, Simon Gagne, or even Marc Savard.  I’ll reserve judgment at this time on the situation, simply because  a lot of the details are still coming to fruition.

With that being said, however, I don’t blame Laperriere for playing last spring.  He’s a professional hockey player.  He’s grown up his whole life waiting for a chance to take a sip from Lord Stanley’s chalice and, perhaps in his mind, he felt that last Spring was his final go at it so he went out and gave it his all in what ended up being a losing effort.  You can’t fault a guy for wanting to win and wanting to be a part of the unit in crunch-time – Lappy is the ultimate team player.  He’ll be missed both on and off the ice.

With Laperriere out of the line-up, there suddenly becomes a bit of competition for the final Flyers forward slot.  To quote Eagles head coach Andy Reid: Bill Guerin, Ben Holmstrom, and Mike Testwuide, “Time’s yours.”

For more on Laperriere and Leighton’s injuries, check out this article here: FLYERS LEIGHTON OUT FOR A MONTH, LAPERRIERE INDEFINITELY

Best of luck to Lappy and Leights on each of them having a healthy and speedy recovery.

Tweet: Tim Panaccio with More on Leighton

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , on September 24, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

….While Panaccio is right: back isn’t as bad as groin, it still is a cause for alarm if Leighton is in enough pain that he had to alert Jim McCrossin during the game tonight.  The Flyers goaltending situation has enough questions as is; Leighton being injured would put a serious question mark between the pipes.  We’ll keep updated on this….

Training Camp: Bobrovsky Solid in Flyers Debut

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , , , on September 22, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

All through rookie camp, all through the early stages of Training Camp, there has been one name that has intrigued many a Flyers fan and left the group referred to as “Hockey’s most intimidating” searching for glimpses of this particular individual.

The Flyers may have found a diamond in the rough in "Bob"

If you have been able to make the trip to Vorhees over the past week, chances are you’ve probably seen him.  Chances also are that you struggle mightily to quickly pronounce his name when talking about him.  However, if, like myself, all you’ve done over the past couple weeks is read about Sergei Bobrovsky, then last night presented the first opportunity to see the man with all the hype attempt to live up to it in his Philadelphia Flyers debut.

25 minutes of shutout hockey coupled with leading the Flyers to a shootout victory in their preseason opener certainly laid the foundation for the Bobrovsky fan frenzy for at least the foreseeable future.

While Michael Leighton got the nod last night as the Flyers began their preseason slate against the New Jersey Devils, all the buzz on the message boards, blogs, and Twitter was centered around a simple question: “When are we going to see this Bobrovsky kid?”  Fans got their wish as the puck dropped to begin the third period as the 22-year-old Russian ‘tender finally made his first appearance in a National Hockey League game wearing a Flyers uniform.  Despite the fact that “Bob” didn’t see a shot for almost the first nine minutes he was in the game, he was solid when called upon in the third frame, stopping all five shots he faced, as well as turning away the two shots thrown his way in overtime.  Jason Arnott muscled a wrister by Bobrovsky in the shootout, but the rookie was otherwise perfect and stopped every shot he faced.

Today, on CSNPhilly.com, Sarah Baicker has more on the Russian netminder who’s hard-to-pronounce name is suddenly flowing freely off many of the franchise’s fans tongues.  She talks about his performance in last night’s victory, as well as his well-documented – albeit incredible – athleticism and quickness and even some interesting superstitions the young goaltender has.  To learn more about this seemingly budding star right before our eyes this preseason, give Sarah’s article a look.

Check it out here: FLYERS’ BOBROVSKY HELPS STEAL WIN IN NHL DEBUT

Player Report Card: Michael Leighton

Posted in Flyer Thoughts with tags , on September 6, 2010 by Josh Getzoff

NAME: Michael Leighton

POSITION: Goaltender

Regular Season Statistics: 26 Games Started – 16 Wins, 5 Losses, 2 OTLs.  2.48 GAA, .918 SV %, 1 Shutout.

Analysis: Michael Leighton was just your typical, run of the mill journeyman goaltender who latched onto a team this past season at the right time and was virtually the largest reason they made a postseason push.  Happens all the time, right?  Wrong.  When Leights joined the Flyers early in this season, the team’s goaltending carousel was already in full spinning motion.  Ray Emery had already suffered his first setback of the season, and Brian Boucher was struggling with a lacerated finger that kept him out of the goal.  In walks Leighton, and all he proceeded to do was steal the show, and net career bests in virtually every single statistical category that a goaltender can register numbers in.  After previously beginning this season as Cam Ward’s back-up for the lowly Carolina Hurricanes, Leighton was waived and it was at that time that the Flyers claimed his rights and stuck him in goal.  Both the Flyers and Leighton never looked back.  Up until a freak high ankle sprain against Nashville ended his regular season in mid-March, Leighton was arguably the Flyers MVP the entire second half of the season.

Postseason Statistics: 13 Games Started – 8 Wins, 3 Losses.  2.46 GAA, .916 SV %, 3 Shutouts.

Analysis: Leights returned from his high ankle sprain to see that his starting goaltender position had been won over by Brian Boucher, and that Boosh was doing fairly well in between the pipes as the 33-year-old netminder guided the Flyers to a four games to one series win over the Devils.  However, in round two, both the Flyers and Boucher faltered, and fell into a 3-0 hole against the Boston Bruins.  Boosh was able to help the Flyers to victory in Game four to stave off elimination, but in Game Five, Boosh’s series ended when he sprained his MCL during a scramble in the goal-mouth.  Enter Michael Leighton.  Once again, Leighton stepped in the crease and never looked back, helping the Flyers make history and erase the 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 series win and a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals.  From there, Leighton recorded three shutouts – tying Bernie Parent’s playoff record for a single series – as the Flyers won their first Eastern Conference crown since 1997.  While he was shaky at times during the Cup Final, there’s no doubt that Leighton was the main reason the Flyers had gotten there.

FINAL GRADE:  B+

Reasoning: Many people are saying that we have already seen Michael Leighton’s best effort, and he simply can’t get better than what we saw last season.  While I don’t necessarily disagree with the notion that his success was unprecedented, I do disagree that the performance Leights turned in last spring was, while remarkable, the end of the line as far as his capability is concerned.  Instead, I think that Leighton will use all the doubters as inspiration, and really work hard this off-season towards putting together a respectable campaign in 2010-2011.  He was great when the Flyers needed him to be this past season, and when you take a step back and look at the bigger picture, he ultimately took the Flyers from 29th place out of 30 in the entire National Hockey League to just a mere two wins away from the Stanley Cup in the same season.  Will the doubters be able to argue against that fact?  I strongly doubt it.