Ilya Bryzgalov

Operation shutdown: Bryzgalov to talk to media after games only

Who doesn’t enjoy hearing from Ilya Bryzgalov these days? The Flyers’ Russian star goaltender has been a hit with fans and the media since joining Philadelphia and with good reason, the guy makes a great quote for reporters. Now, the media is going to have to pray for Bryzgalov to start every game from here on out if they want to hear from him.

Sam Carchidi of finds out that Bryzgalov has requested to talk to the media only after games in which he’s played. Carchidi notes that this decision likely came from the Flyers but it’s not going to make us any happier.

While this is a bummer for the Philly scribes, it’s been the post-game scrums where Bryzgalov has been a true superstar talking about how he was “lost in the woods” after Philly’s 9-8 loss to Winnipeg and then acting like he was on top of the world just a game later.

Riding the Bryz quote roller coaster is a world of fun and the guy is the perfect personality for us fans to deal with. He says what he’s thinking, he says it in funny ways, and he’s forever famous for commenting on Edmonton weather.

Why we have to be sad? Sad because Bryz will only be giving us his pearls of thought ever so rarely now.

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.