Bob deserves a break

Tonight's game will be Sergei Bobrovsky's 12th-straight start in net. (Matt Slocum/AP)

    Rookie goalie Sergei Bobrovsky will make his 12th straight start Thursday when the Flyers play host to shorthanded Tampa Bay. It will be his 16th start in 20 games, putting him on pace to play 66 of the 82 regular-season games.

    After Thursday, the Flyers' next two games are against elite Eastern Conference teams, Washington and Montreal. Based on coach Peter Laviolette's past, Bobrovsky figures to start those games, too.

   Bobrovsky is 22 and in great physical shape. He should not have a problem starting 60-some games this season. But allowing him to start 14 straight _ assuming he also starts against Washington and Montreal _ is a bit much. He has never played more than 35 games in any of his pro seasons in Russia.

   It says here it's good to rest a goalie for the mental fatigue as much as for the physical factors _ and the fear of wearing him down.

   Give the kid a day off. Let him relax and unwind. Then start him the next six or seven in a row.

    By bypassing the highly capable Brian Boucher on Thursday, one wonders if Boosh has played his last game for the Flyers. Michael Leighton is getting close to returning, and he might be next in line when "Bob" finally does get a rest.

    In case you were curious, Bernie Parent played in 73 games in 1973-74, a season that ended when he was 29, He then played in 68 games in 1974-75.

   The Flyers won the Stanley Cup those seasons, so it didn't seem to affect Parent.

   But the game is much quicker today than it was in Parent's era. Is it more of a grind to be a goalie in 2010 than it was in the mid 1970s?

   Probably. Which is another reason I'd rest the kid.

  Then again, unlike Laviolette, I never coached a team to a Stanley Cup.

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   Tampa, which is already shorthanded because of injuries to Simon Gagne and Vinny Lacavalier, will be without forward Mattias Ritola on Thursday. He was suspended by the NHL for two games for hitting an Islander from behind.

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