Monday we passed along a CSNPhilly.com article in which Danny Briere said Ilya Brygalov had “actually been a great teammate” lately – the inference being Bryzgalov hadn’t been a great teammate the whole time.
Also contained in the article was the following paragraph:
Briere said that guys sat Bryzgalov down and told him he needed to redirect the focus off himself and onto the team.
It didn’t paint the most serene picture of life in the Philadelphia dressing room, and since then it’s been an operation in damage control.
First was Briere, as reported by Philly.com: “I was trying to pump his tires and trying to be positive, and obviously people try to read between the lines… Bryz has been great and he’s playing awesome – and we need him to keep playing that way. He makes us all look better.”
Peter Laviolette did some firefighting, too. The coach told 97.5 the Fanatic (via sportsradiointerviews.com) he was unaware any players had spoken to Bryzgalov, though he wouldn’t say a sit-down didn’t happen.
As for Briere’s comments?
“In talking to Danny that’s not what he meant,” said Laviolette. “(It was) the way the article was written and the way it came across…you know how it works: they get in there, there’s a scrum, you talk for five minutes and they might take 15 seconds, 20 seconds, they might take the words that they want and the sentences that they want. I’m not saying that they made up something — they didn’t — but a lot of times you can take what you want and use it in context of a story that you have in your mind or whatever.”
Whichever angle you believe, we wouldn’t be talking about this if Bryzgalov didn’t have such a unique personality. It’s one of the pitfalls of signing a guy who the cameras and microphones adore.
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.