Ilya Bryzgalov

Report: Flyers and Ilya Bryzgalov have framework set for new contract; Cap issues ahead again?

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When the Flyers acquired Ilya Bryzgalov from Phoenix in order to get their shot at negotiating a long term deal with the impending unrestricted free agent, it was expected to be an awkward dance. Bryzgalov was coming off a monster season that saw him fade in the playoffs but after a career that’s seen him be a steady workhorse of a goalie, free agency was set to be a good thing for the Russian.

With the Flyers in need of a steady presence in goal, Flyers chairman Ed Snider put the call in to get Bryzgalov and with that kind of backing from up on high, the Flyers desperation to get a deal worked out with Bryzgalov before he hits the open market on July 1 is ever-present. GM Paul Holmgren may have young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky there and willing to go, but considering he split time with Brian Boucher last season, Bryzgalov can help end that problem and the Flyers may have a solution ready to go.

Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports that the Flyers have the framework for a deal squared away with Bryzgalov that would keep him in Philadelphia for a long time at a price that might just drive Flyers fans and amateur capologists insane.

Kypreos went on to say that a deal may not be announced until after July 1. NHL tagging rules mean the Flyers would have to move money off their salary cap before announcing the signing.

While the two sides have not publicly discussed financial details, Bryzgalov was reportedly looking for a deal in the seven-year, $50-million range.

If you find Kypreos to be not-so trustworthy with such news items, CBC’s Elliotte Friedman backed up Kypreos on the target number for the cap hit being around or just above $7 million a year. At that price and that cap hit ($7.14 million), Bryzgalov would be the highest paid goalie in the NHL. He’d be higher than the current leader Henrik Lundqvist by nearly $400,000 based on cap hit. While that amount is staggering, what that would do to the Flyers salary cap situation is staggering.

According to CapGeek, the Flyers are currently committed to over $58 million next season against the cap. Adding Bryzgalov at $7.14 million per season would put the Flyers over the rumored new salary cap of $64 million and force the Flyers to make roster moves they may not be comfortable with.

Philadelphia has an impending free agent in Ville Leino as well as monster contracts already signed to big time players like Jeff Carter, Daniel Briere, and Mike Richards. The trade rumors about Carter are likely to persist given his deal is fat enough to help clear the space needed to give the Flyers the room they need to make signing Bryzgalov to that kind of money more palatable. Of course, if the Flyers want to have any sort of depth, they’ll need to more even more salary to make it work. Dumping Michael Leighton or Bobrovsky in the AHL helps that out as well as the potential of moving defenseman Matt Carle elsewhere.

Suffice to say, Philadelphia’s summer is going to be interesting no matter what and during the draft they may prove to be a team worth watching not for who they pick but for who they might move. In 2009, the Flyers jumped big and traded for Chris Pronger at the NHL Draft in Montreal. This time around, if they did make a move it won’t be an addition. It’s always interesting in Philadelphia.

Lightning lament Game 6 effort, Cooper doesn’t blame disallowed goal

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Brian Boyle #11 of the Tampa Bay Lightning reacts after losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final with a score of 5 to 2 during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to sleepwalk through the first two periods of Game 6, and waking up in the final frame wasn’t enough to edge the Pittsburgh Penguins.

On the bright side, at least the Lightning aren’t in denial about that weak first 40 minutes.

It seemed like everyone on the team more or less admitted as much in unison.

Brian Boyle added that he felt like the Lightning tiptoed around this game. Jon Cooper often provides great quips, yet he was pretty matter-of-fact in this case.

Many will linger on this disallowed goal for Jonathan Drouin, which would have provided a 1-0 lead for Tampa Bay in the first period.

Let’s face it; that moment came pretty early in the game. To Tampa Bay’s credit, they’re not pinning the loss on that setback.

Now they must set their sights on competing throughout Game 7 … and maybe earning some bounces of their own in the process.

Read more about Game 6 here.

Penguins force Game 7 after holding off Lightning rally

TAMPA, FL - MAY 24:  Kris Letang #58 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates with his teammates Sidney Crosby #87 after scoring a goal against Andrei Vasilevskiy #88 of the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on May 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Jason Behnken/Getty Images)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins played with fire late in Game 6, but they also showed plenty of fire in beating the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-2.

With that, this thrilling Eastern Conference Final will go the distance with Game 7 on Thursday.

There are at least a few “What if?” scenarios to consider, especially for the Lightning.

What if that offside goal counted?

Jonathan Drouin played some fantastic hockey on Tuesday, yet his most memorable moment came via something that ultimately “didn’t happen.” An offside call on a goal review kept a 1-0 lead from happening for Tampa Bay:

Instead, the Penguins poured it on during the first period and eventually went up 1-0. They then carried that momentum over through the second period, adding two more goals to go up 3-0 heading into the final frame.

What if Tampa Bay played more like they did in the third period?

The difference between the level of play in the first 40 minutes and the final frame were night-and-day.

Now, you can make a chicken-and-the-egg argument here. Did the Penguins take their feet off the gas with that lead? Maybe Jon Cooper finally unleashed the hounds when the Lightning were facing a big deficit?

Maybe it’s a combination of those factors; either way, the Bolts couldn’t come all the way back even after making it interesting. At one point the game was 3-2 before a Bryan Rust breakaway goal and an empty-netter put things out of reach.

Both Matt Murray and Andrei Vasilevskiy faced plenty of tough chances and came through more often than not. We’ll see if there are any goal controversy rumblings, but each netminder came through at times tonight.

***

Now the series shifts back to Pittsburgh for Game 7 with a Stanley Cup Final on the line. Excited and/or nervous yet?

More: Great goals by Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel.

Sidney Crosby scores a superstar goal

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With the Pittsburgh Penguins’ season on the line in Game 6, plenty of eyes are on big guns Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Kris Letang and Phil Kessel.

Those marquee names are really coming through so far as they’ve now built a 3-0 lead through two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

You likely already saw Kessel’s display of high-end hand-eye coordination (if not, check it here). Kris Letang scored his first goal of the series to make it 2-0 on a very tricky, well-placed shot.

The highlight really might be Crosby’s tally, though. He left multiple Lightning players baffled and beat a very-much-game Andrei Vasilevskiy to beef that lead up 3-0.

Video: Phil Kessel displays incredible hand-eye coordination on goal

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This has been a tough postseason for Phil Kessel haters.

The supposed “choker” is on a team that’s in the Eastern Conference Final, but Kessel obviously isn’t just in for the ride with the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored his 18th point in 17 postseason games by scoring the 1-0 goal against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6.

(Watch that goal in the video above.)

It was a dramatic first period, with a Jonathan Drouin goal getting disallowed and Andrei Vasilevskiy making some huge saves on tough chances.

Can Pittsburgh protect this slim lead with 1-0 down one period? We’ll see, but either way, what a great postseason for Kessel.

Update: Here’s the goal Kessel accidentally “scored” for the Lightning:

Ouch.