On the bright side, he didn’t finish first or second. According to The Hockey News’ Adam Proteau, Roman Cechmanek and Robbie Moore earned those honors, respectively.
Fun fact: According to Wikipedia, Moore was one of the “first goalies in either college or professional hockey to come out of his net and handle the puck like a defenseman.”
Just like Ilya Bryzgalov did last night!
Anyway, here’s what Proteau had to say about Bryzgalov’s playoff performance:
Leave aside all the sideshow elements to Bryzgalov’s first year as a Flyer – the colorful quotes, the philosophical ruminations, the insightful and entertaining Twitter account – and just look at his numbers: an .887 SP, 3.46 GAA and a playoff-worst 37 goals allowed. It doesn’t matter that Bryzgalov’s teammates weren’t there to bail him out – for a $5.6 million salary cap hit (until 2020), his stats are simply unacceptable.
Hard to argue with that.
On the other hand, while I’ve never been sold on Bryzgalov, I’m not to the point where I’m ready to write him off. Clearly he wasn’t prepared to play in a market like Philadelphia. And on top of having to shoulder the massive expectation he would solve Philly’s longstanding goaltending nightmare, there were distractions like “24/7” and the Winter Classic.
Throw in a new system to learn and the injury to Chris Pronger, one of the best shutdown defensemen in the NHL, and any goalie would struggle.
The hope for Flyers fans is Bryzgalov uses this season as a learning experience and comes back in the fall focused on hockey, not all the other noise.