Is Michal Neuvirth Ready to be the Flyers No. 1 Goalie?
VOORHEES — This is not a recording, just the story of a talented player’s career.
Michal Neuvirth is trying to prove himself, overcoming health issues and play consistently enough to be a No. 1 NHL goalie.
The way his season ended in April — and the campaign as a whole — doesn’t exactly help his cause.
“You don’t want to have two bad seasons,” Neuvirth said, “and I want to show everybody I can be the guy here.”
The last time Neuvirth was on the ice in a game he offered a thumbs-up from a stretcher as he was wheeled off and taken to Pennsylvania Hospital. He was forced into starting a game against the New Jersey Devils because Steve Mason was too sick to play and Anthony Stolarz, who barely arrived by the opening faceoff, was still on his way to Philadelphia from Allentown.
Neuvirth, like Mason, was ill and on antibiotics. He got so dehydrated on the ice that he collapsed in front of the net as players were preparing for a neutral-zone faceoff. In his fall, his head hit the ice and he suffered a concussion.
“Mase ended up throwing up right before the game,” Neuvirth recalled. “Stolie wasn’t here. It was just…it happened. Definitely it was scary, but I had a good summer of training and I’m 100 percent.”
Tests on the 29-year-old’s head, lungs and heart turned up nothing irregular so doctors told Neuvirth his collapse was a product of the dehydration.
It was a terrible ending to a sorry year for Neuvirth, who finished dead last in save percentage among the 58 goalies who played at 15 games last season.