Early last week, Flyers captain Claude Giroux called Ilya Bryzgalov Philadelphia’s “best player.”
Today, it was general manager Paul Holmgren’s turn.
“He’s been our best player — by far,” Holmgren told ESPN.com. “He’s been great. He’s had a great focus. Every game, he’s been great.”
Bryzgalov is 5-5-1 with a .921 save percentage – impressive stats made all the more important given the Flyers’ offensive struggles.
And unlike last season – his first in Philadelphia after signing a nine-year, $51 million contract – consistency has been a strength for Bryzgalov. The 32-year-old has only surrendered four goals once; otherwise it’s been three or fewer.
Besides goaltending, the Flyers (5-6-1) have little to brag about. After 12 games, they’re in the bottom half of the league in goals (2.4, 22nd), goals against (2.7, 16th), power play (17.3%, 17th), and penalty kill (77.4%, 22nd).
Philadelphia is in Toronto tonight to kick off a stretch of six straight road games. The Flyers have just one victory in six tries away from Wells Fargo Center.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.