Panthers’ Sergei Bobrovsky: It’d be unfair for NHL to jump right into playoffs

Florida Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky has stuck to a rigid routine as he self-isolates with his wife.

“Wake up and have breakfast. Work out and have lunch and then begin another workout. Then, watch a movie or something like that, just free time again.”

The first-year Panthers goalie doesn’t have the luxury of receiving shots from skaters during the self-isolation period. As a result, he’s focused on building strength, cardio and stretching.

“I would say I have a good gym. I have bikes and all the equipment needed to be in shape,” Bobrovsky said. “It’s not an easy time, because we don’t know when we’re going to play and stuff like that.”

Bobrovsky has also been helping the South Florida community during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On March 13, one day after the season was paused, he donated $100,000 to help BB&T Center part-time employees.

His next project is helping South Florida health workers get the necessary equipment, such as N95 masks, to fight the coronavirus. He’s working with the Florida Panthers Foundation as fellow Russians, Rangers forward Artemi Panarin and Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov, are helping the efforts in New York.

“I want to make sure the first responders have the right masks,” he said. “It’s good to support those people with high quality wants.”

Physically, Bobrovsky said he’s feeling good. The Florida goaltender missed the final four games before the pause due to a lower-body injury.

“I was close to coming back,” he said. “Now, it’s time to make sure that my body’s ready to go and build up from that.”

It has not been a smooth first season in Florida for Bobrovsky. After signing a seven-year deal last summer with the Panthers, he has a record of 23-19-6 record, a 3.23 goals-against average and a .900 save percentage. His GAA this season is on pace to be a career-worst and his career-low in save percentage is .899.

Bobrovsky understands this has not been the personal season he envisioned, but he hopes the team’s goals can still be achieved.

“The numbers are not there and it wasn’t an easy season for me. It was a new team, new coach, new surroundings,” he said. “Everything was new. From a team standpoint, we’re planning for the playoff and we’re only three points behind [in the division] so we’re right in the mix and it’s all in our hands.

“The most important thing is team success and we have the possibility to get into the playoffs and that’s really important for me as well.”

Bobrovsky added that it would be unfair for the league to immediately start the Stanley Cup playoffs considering there are still 13 games remaining in the regular season. The Panthers are currently two points back of the Islanders for the second Eastern Conference Wild Card spot and three points back of the Toronto Maple Leafs for third place in the Atlantic Division.

“I think it’s not really fair because we were right in the mix. We had the opportunity to beat them,” Bobrovsky said. “The season is 82 games and then you start the playoffs. You just kind of know where we were and to just grow right into the playoffs.”

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