Provorov Getting Plenty of On-the-Job Training
PHILADELPHIA — Learning curves take on different paths for different players.While coach Dave Hakstol decided this week to bench 23-year-old defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere, 19-year-old rookie Ivan Provorov has played in every contest this season.
The teenager took some lumps in his first couple weeks and there were certainly times he struggled just like Gostisbehere did, but he was never a healthy scratch. His learning needs to take place on the ice and the past several games it’s shown in his play.
“I don’t think for us defensemen you can judge our performance by points or whatever,” said veteran Mark Streit, Provorov’s defense partner these days. “I feel like it’s fun to play with him. It’s great, he’s getting better and better and he makes good decisions on the ice. He has a lot of poise and patience. I feel like we’ve been playing really well together so we want to keep that going.”
There have been very few occasions this season in which Provorov has made a bad decision. His improvement has more come in adjusting to the speed of the NHL. He spent the last two seasons playing for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League and he was dominant.
Very few players can continue that dominance in the NHL right away. The Flyers think Provorov will someday and even after one month of the season he feels like he’s taking positive steps in his development.
“Definitely I am more comfortable,” Provorov said. “Still learning and you can learn at any age. So just learning day by day. Getting better day by day.
“It’s the best league in the world. The fastest, biggest, strongest guys play here. For me I guess, you can’t make every play. Sometimes you’ve just got to chip it out, get it out of your zone.”
That last part is important and many veterans still try to make a play when there isn’t one and don’t make the safe play like Provorov has already learned to do. He is a different player than Gostisbehere despite the offensive numbers he put up in the WHL. His game is steady and not as flashy and the coaching staff is seeing him learn on the fly.