Better With Popcorn

Summer Bryz in Ilyadelphia

Ed Snider is old school, like E.F. Hutton, when he speaks Paul Holmgren listens.

When the 2010-2011 season ended for the Flyers in the second round of the playoffs, Ed Snider was asked about the goalie situation.

After seeing the goalie-go-round in this years playoffs the long time owner of the Flyers stated on camera that what was seen in these playoffs in the Flyers net will never happen again. That is a lot of pressure to put on your general manager, but on June 7th Paul Holmgren obliged the owner by obtaining the rights to unrestricted free agent Ilya Bryzgalov.

The Flyers sent Phantoms forward Matt Clackson, a third round pick in 2012 and a future 3rd round draft pick if Bryzgalov signed with the Flyers. Paul Holmgren would have to be creative to get this franchise the number one goalie the fans have been waiting for since Ron Hextall's first stint with the Flyers.

Last week the Flyers responded in blitzkrieg fashion by sending Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets, then thirty minutes later they moved their Captain Mike Richards to the LA Kings. Trade Info here.

Those moves would be enough for Paul Holmgren to ink the 31 year old Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 year 51 million dollar contract.


Bryzy History

Ilya Bryzgalov was originally drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the 2000 draft, 44th overall. He would spend most of his first four seasons with Cincinnati Mighty Ducks, the Ducks AHL franchise, while being stuck behind Martin Gerber and Giguere.

Bryzgalov would see regular time in the 2005-2006 season as Gerber departed and Giguere would spend some time on the injured list. He went 13-12-1 that season with a 2.55 GAA and a .910 SV%.

He also was needed in the playoffs that season as he appeared in four games in the first round against Calgary. He shut out the Flames in game seven and started the next series against the Avalanche with two shutouts, giving him three in a row, which tied a playoff record set by Frank MCcool in 1945.

Bryzgalov would enter the 2007 season as Giguere's backup and would once again step up in the playoffs as Giguere went on personal leave. Bryz would be relagated to the bench once again as the Ducks beat the Senators in five games to win the Stanley Cup.

The following season the Ducks signed Giguere to a four year contract and acquired Jonas Hiller from Switzerland. The Ducks tried to trade Bryzgalov but were unsuccessful so they tried to sneak him through waivers, which did not work as Phoenix snatched him up the next day.

On that day he would start for Phoenix and pick up a 1-0 shutout against the LA Kings. He carried that team for the three plus years he played there, but struggled against Detroit in the 2010-2011 playoffs. He compiled a 4.36 GAA as the Phoenix Coyotes were swept out of the first round.


New Start in Philly
With the Flyers finally getting their man in between the pipes, there is concern on how they will use him with the current backup, young Russian Sergei Bobrovsky. This will sound odd but the backup goaltender position this season will be just as important as in past years.
The Flyers can not overuse this goalie , they need to work Bob in about 35 games this season for two reasons. One is to get Bob more experience now that he has someone to communicate with on a daily basis. Two would be to keep Bryz fresh for the playoffs this season.
Too many times a team has one goalie they trust in, see Miller, Lundqvuist ,Bryzgalov(Phoenix edition) and Martin Brodeur. These guys are all good number ones who repeatedly get bumped in the first or second rounds because they are worn out.
The Flyers sound as if they would like to play Bryz in about 60 games which would be a huge mistake. This tandem has to be managed right for this signing to be a successful one.
If something happens to Bryz during the season you will need Bob to step in and give this team a chance. Trading Bob and resigning Boosh is not the answer for this team as that ship has sailed.
There is also the question of how Bryzgalov will handle the pressure here in a hockey town , with a huge contract, under the fans microscope. He has the ability to steal the fanbase here in Philly with his play, and One thing is for certain the Flyers not only added a number one net minder but also a huge personality.
Bryzgalov is a funny guy who tells it like it is, and at times has a little Roman Chechmanek in him. Check out the videos and link to an interesting article from 2009 at the end of the blog.
Fun Facts
Byrzgalov's middle name is Nikolayevich
He's married with two children, a boy and a girl
He spent five summers attending college in Russia, where he earned his degree, allowing him to teach and coach in Russian schools
History buff and enjoys studying philosophy
Silver medalist at the 2000 World Junior Championships
Bronze medalist with Russia at the 2002 Winter Olympics
Earned gold as a starting goaltender with team Russia in 2009 Men's World Ice Hockey Championships 
Link to video Defending Pronger


George Prax's picture

This is a big risk for Philly and they better hope it pays off. They got some great young players in exchange for Richards and Carter, enough to ensure that their team can still be competitive, but Bryzgalov needs to step up big time, and IMO he hasn't proven that he can yet. Going to be very interesting next year.

Larry DAngelo's picture

agreed it's like they are walking a fine line, could go either way, and a lot depends on Bryz's play. Liek I said just hope they don't overuse him . This team needed a change in personality as the Flyers as a team often took on Richard's laid back personality. I believe he had the respect of some of the younger players but not the vets. Pronger will be the right choice to lead this team . this will be a very interesting season to watch and cover.