Ilya Bryzgalov

Bryzgalov doesn’t have a book on Ovechkin


When Philadelphia hosts the Washington Capitals tonight, Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov will be able to look up, see No. 8 on the other team, and know that it’s Alexander Ovechkin.

You know, the guy from Russia who peddles razors on TV.

“He’s Russian,” Bryzgalov replied when asked what he knows about Ovechkin, according to Tim Panaccio at “He wears No. 8. He signed a contract with Gillette.”

Right. Anything else?

“I never studied him (as a shooter),” Bryzgalov admitted. “I never had much experience to play against him. Only, I guess, two games. This whole [Eastern] conference is new to me.”

Oddly enough, Bryzgalov’s lack of knowledge might be an advantage tonight.

The Washington Post’s Tarik El-Bashir reported Monday that Caps coach Bruce Boudreau has been working with Ovechkin on becoming less predictable on the ice.

Ovechkin’s go-to move has been to carry the puck into the offensive zone from the left side, then cut hard into the high slot and use the defenseman as a screen. The past two seasons, defenders have been stepping up on him as an opposing forward applies pressure from the backside, often stripping him of the puck or forcing him into a low percentage shot.

That’s still happening too often and he’s still not using his linemates enough.

After the Montreal Canadiens shocked Washington in the first round of the 2010 playoffs, Habs defenseman Josh Gorges said what most Caps watchers already knew about Ovechkin’s tendencies.

“Generally, you know what’s coming,” Gorges said, as reported by the CBC’s Elliotte Friedman. “When he comes in on the off-wing, he’ll try to step to the middle and shoot through you. You can bait him into that.”

But Bryzgalov won’t know that. He’ll probably expect Ovechkin to do something crazy. Like pass the puck.

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.

We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.

It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”

Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)

Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.

So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”

… You get the idea.

The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.

The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.

It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.

The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.

As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.

Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?

The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.

This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.