Based on what Danny Briere said today, it’s safe to assume Ilya Bryzgalov wasn’t the most popular guy in the Philadelphia dressing room during his first few months with the team.
“We’ve seen all kinds of Bryz this year,” Briere said, as reported by CSNPhilly.com. “He’s never the same. He’s all over the place. But the last couple of weeks, he’s actually been a great teammate and hopefully, he stays that way.”
When a teammate says you’ve “actually” been a good guy lately, you know a low bar’s been set. Sort of like a Kevin James movie that “actually doesn’t make you want to jump off a cliff,” if one of those is ever made.
Bryzgalov’s posted impressive numbers since the All-Star break (2.03 GAA, .920 SV%). Sunday he shut out the Capitals in Washington, making 34 saves in a 1-0 victory.
It’s not just his play that’s changed either. Briere said that before “everything was about Bryz. When he played well, when he played bad, everything was about Bryz.”
“I found lately, a lot more, it’s not just about him. He’s able to take the blame when there is and give credit to his teammates when that is.”
But like Briere said, Bryzgalov is “never the same,” so we’ll have to see how long the new attitude lasts. Clearly he’s had trouble handling the pressure that goes with playing in Philly and earning big money. And that pressure will only intensify once the playoffs start.