The ice time mounts up but Provorov keeps his cool

Most NHL players never get to log 30 minutes of ice time in a regulation-time game for their entire career.
Then you have Ivan Provorov, who might AVERAGE 30 minutes a game for a season sometime in the future.
The 20-year-old defenseman recently registered a 29:51 performance and has averaged 28:03 over the past five games.
But you won’t hear the peep of a complaint from Provorov, and that provides some insight into his personality.
While he’s fluent and articulate in English, he chooses his words carefully in measured tone, with the same sort of precision he executes his game on the ice.
Players such as 24-year-old Shayne Gostisbehere have to keep reminding themselves Provorov still isn’t old enough to join them for a “relaxer’’ at a post-game bar.
Yet Provorov, who recently tied a team record with 10 blocked shots in one game, has already established himself as a team leader and says he’s now approaching a comfort level which will allow him to speak up in the dressing room.
“He’s definitely the anchor of our defense,’’ Gostisbehere says. “He’s only 20 and that says a lot about him, his character, how humble he is.
“He plays against the top lines every night. His leadership, it’s sort of a by-example thing. Obviously, he’s not the most opinionated guy, he’s a quiet guy who goes about his business. He does a great job and we’re leaning on him a bit here.’’
Indeed. Injuries to Andrew MacDonald and Gostisbehere early in the season have forced Provorov to log even more time on a nightly basis.
Don’t think other players aren’t taking notice. This is how young leaders evolve.
“I think on all the teams I’ve played on I’ve been a leader on and off the ice,’’ Provorov says. “More of just a quiet, lead by example kind of guy. But you know eventually I’m going to start talking more. There are a lot of older guys who say a lot of stuff in the locker room, to keep the guys going. With every year, I’m going to try to talk more and more.’’
Some of this accelerated maturity can be credited to his decision to leave home and travel to North America at age 13. Experts told him getting a head start on the transition to a different culture would help his professional hockey growth and they were right.
He was consumed with the ideal of personal excellence and so far, so good.
“From Day 1, that was my goal,’’ he says. “Ever since I started playing hockey, to play in the NHL. My parents and I thought it (coming to North America) was the best way to go and get better. . .to learn the culture, the language. Get used to the ice.
“I had a lot of sacrifices to make for myself and the family. But they paid off. I was willing to do everything to make the NHL.’’
General manager Ron Hextall says he’s not worried about overworking his star protégé.
“Ivan is geared to handle a lot of minutes,’’ Hextall says. “He’s in great shape, his body is built for it. We’re keeping track of the minutes. But he thrives on work.’’

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 453 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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