Bryzgalov Tiger

Watch Ilya Bryzgalov explain the universe, China’s stringent tiger protection policies


Much of the buzz emanating from the debut episode of 24/7 Flyers/Rangers: Road to the Winter Classic surrounds Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who emerged as the show’s breakthrough star.

Why breakthrough? I’m guessing some of it had to do with Bryz talking about the totality of everything that exists, including galaxies and the contents of intergalactic space:

A compelling vignette…right up until Bryz used the universe’s magnitude to diminish Earth issues. That kinda went off the rails. He almost made it sound like there were bigger galaxies with bigger problems. “You think Earth have problems? You should see galaxy Zorkon 12. Is crazy problems.”

Bryzgalov’s second act came late in the show, when he was receiving treatment from Flyers trainer Jim McCrossin. McCrossin presented Bryz with some kind of bootlegged Russian liquor featuring a picture of a tiger, which led to this exchange:

At first viewing I thought — possibly like many of you thought — that Bryzgalov was just talking a lot of nonsense. But it turns out he ain’t lying. Check this, from a 2007 Reuters article:

China growth seen raising threat tigers

Growing affluence means that more and more Chinese are able to afford exotic foods such as snakes, reptiles and frogs or buy traditional medicines like tiger bone wine believed by many in China to help lower blood pressure.

In China “more and more people get access to these expensive food stuffs,” Willem Wijnstekers, head of the Secretariat of the Convention on International Trade in Endangerered Species (CITES), told a Reuters environment summit.

“Both within China and in neighboring countries there is a lot disappearing,” he said.

“Africa is full of Chinese wood buyers and the forests are rapidly disappearing in the direction of China as well,” he said. Timber is used both in China and for exports including furniture sold to nations from Europe to North America.

But he said that China had stringent penalties. “They have the death penalty for wildlife crime and they have used it,” he said. “I’m not going to promote the death penalty for CITES but they really take it seriously.”

So there you go. Bryz knows his international wildlife crime penalties.

Panarin impresses ‘Hawks with his preseason debut

Artemi Panarin
AP Photo
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Will Artem Panarin‘s overwhelming success in the KHL translate to North America? The 23-year-old forward has a lot to prove, but his first big test was a success.

Playing on a line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov, Panarin made his preseason debut in Chicago’s finale on Saturday. He registered two assists while giving his teammates reason to be optimistic about him.

“For not being on the ice he looks really relaxed. He’s great with the puck, has nice moves and I think we’ll see a lot of this,” Marian Hossa told CSN Chicago. “He has unbelievable skill. People here in Chicago are going to have a good time watching this guy dangling.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was impressed by Panarin as well and liked that line as a whole.

The fact that the trio seemed to hit it off quickly has to come as a relief after an upper-body injury prevented Panarin from getting the most out of this year’s training camp. At the end of the day though, the fact that he was able to at least get in one preseason contest is a big silver lining. How smoothly his adjustment goes from here is still a big X-factor, but at least now he’s going into the regular season with a better idea of what to expect.

Panarin is attempting to establish himself in the NHL after leading the KHL’s SKA St. Petersburg to a championship last year. He was the team’s scoring leader, topping ex-NHL star Ilya Kovalchuk.

Gustavsson secures one-year contract with Bruins

Jonas Gustavsson
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There was stiff competition for the backup goaltending job in Boston, but with a signing this afternoon, it seems likely that the matter has been resolved.

The Boston Bruins announced that Jonas Gustavsson has agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal. It’s a one-way contract, according to the Boston Globe’s Amalie Benjamin.

That contract is still small enough that the Bruins could bury it in the minors if they so desire, but it does set him apart from his last competitor for the goalie position, Jeremy Smith, who has a two-way deal. The fact that Boston went this route seems to imply that Gustavsson will serve as Tuukka Rask‘s understudy, although both netminders attended Sunday’s practice.

In Smith, the Bruins would be getting a 26-year-old goaltender who was dominant with the AHL’s Providence Bruins last season, but has no NHL experience. By contrast Gustavsson, 30, has played in almost 150 NHL games.

Boston sent Zane McIntyre and Malcolm Subban to the minors last week, but an argument could be made that either one of them is worthy of the backup job. However, both of them have a lot of potential and it’s not surprising that the Bruins felt they were better served by staying in the minors where they can play regularly and focus on honing their game.