APP ONLY: Seravalli's Mailbag 3/18/11

DALLAS -- Each week, Flyers beat writer Frank Seravalli will answer your questions. Send him an e-mail with your question to

Enough with [Sergei] Bobrovsky already. He's young, raw, and will and has imploded in the third period. His time in down the road like in 2 to 3 years, not now. [Brian] Boucher can do it, he's been close before, if he played game six in last years final, there would have been a game seven. I have been a season ticket holder since before you were born and I'm not dumb enough to think that Boucher will stand on his head but I do know he's better under pressure, he handles the puck better,and communicates better then Bobrovsky. I think ‘Lavi’ also knows this and he wants to keep Boosh fresh so he will still play Bob but hopefully less then a third of the remaining games.
-Howard Littman

Personally, I think you’re spot on that Boucher should be the playoff starter. I think it’s his to lose, at this point. He has been steady all year. It’s about time that Boucher has gotten back-to-back starts. Bobrovsky really didn’t look too hot against Atlanta [last Saturday] in the third period with the game on the line. How will he react in Game 6 of a series? He goes through these long stretches where he seemingly has no idea where the puck is on the ice. It’s like he’s lucky to have it hit him. Yes, he’s flexible and he’s quick and he makes saves Boucher could never. But he’s also never really been tested, he still has a lot to learn, and he lets in goals that Boucher would never. Who knows what Laviolette will decide to do, but I think he’s already leaning towards Boucher.


Big fan from the west coast, I respect the hell out of coach Laviolette and he knows of heck of a lot more about coaching hockey than I, but I have to ask.  With 15 regular season games left and the power play not hitting on all cylinders why wouldn't the Flyers try 4 forwards and 1 defenseman?  They have used this in the past with Richards at the point with Pronger. I am curious why they don't at least experiment with this before the playoffs start. I could see Richards centering Versteeg and Carter with Giroux and Pronger at the points. That gives them serious firepower around the net and a big shot from the point and a playmaker at the point. The second unit could be Briere centering Hartnell and Leino with Timonen and JVR at the point featuring JVR's big shot and Timo's playmaking. Any Thoughts?
-Bill Scheuber
Turlock, Ca.

Always good to hear from you. You know, it’s an interesting setup you mention. I’m not really comfortable, personally, putting van Riemsdyk at the point, but that may just be me. I don’t think you want him as a last line of defense in case he takes an ill-advised slap shot that bounces out of the zone. You know how quickly a shorthanded goal can swing a game. I’d look at using Meszaros a little more. He has show an ability to hit key spots on the net, and he’s scored twice from the point in overtime this season. It seems like, though, the power play is beginning to come around, even though it wasn’t successful against Florida. That’s such a big part of winning in the playoffs.


First let me say I enjoy your coverage, but can you please, for the love of God, explain why Zherdev is being scratched so often? Or at least ask why. I know someone has to come out of the lineup to make time for others, but Richards is out and we replace his production with Shelley? My friends and I are at a loss for an explanation. It can't just be he's bad defensively. Clearly, Shelley isn't going to play late in a game when you need a goal, on the power play, as Zherdev would. As a former copy editor, please tell me there's not a story there you're not reporting... I find it odd that no one is asking why. If you don't wonder why, understand that many of your readers do.
-Dave Cymerman
Frustrated Flyers fan

I think a few weeks ago, I probably would have agreed with your sentiment. Honestly, he wasn’t playing so poorly, and he had always responded well after sitting out. I wrote a story explaining his stats in the first few games back. He almost always scored a couple goals. The last couple times, he has stopped responding. And he gets complacent so easily. With that said, I think the Flyers should use him in the playoffs. While he may be a slight risk defensively, he’s not that bad and his lethal scoring threat could really help when you don’t need guys like Jody Shelley and Dan Carcillo as much. Whether Peter Laviolette will actually use him is another question entirely.

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