Ilya Bryzgalov

In defense of Bryzgalov (sort of)


As a statistic to judge the performance of goalies, save percentage has its issues.

Among the things one can say in retort to a poor save percentage:

—Yeah, but the defense isn’t very good. Odd-man rushes. Blown coverages. Not clearing rebounds. Every second shot seems to be a prime scoring opportunity.

—Yeah, but the team is shorthanded all the time. Power-play shots are typically better in quality, which is why a goalie’s save percentage is usually lower when shorthanded.

Both of the above have been said about the Philadelphia Flyers, and both should be taken into account when judging their embattled goalie, Ilya Bryzgalov.

Take this goal from Saturday’s 4-1 loss in Winnipeg:

If you’re picking out one player to blame on that shift, it’s Flyers defenseman Oliver Lauridsen, who allowed Mike Santorelli a free pass to the front of the net.

Granted, every team has breakdowns in defense. And if you went through all the goals Bryzgalov allowed this season, you’d find a bunch that he should’ve stopped.

Bryzgalov’s save percentage is .896, among the lowest in the NHL.

Whether the Flyers buy him out this summer could, of course, come down to more than just his play on the ice. The 32-year-old has a unique personality that’s great for the media, but may not be so good for the team. (Not being in the room, it’s hard to say if this is a real concern or just makes for a good story.)

I’m not about to go through all the goals Bryzgalov has allowed with the Flyers and determine how many he should’ve stopped. It would take a long time.

But if I’m general manager Paul Holmgren, I’d want to know exactly how a goalie that was lights out in Phoenix two years ago has been anything but in Philadelphia. Is it all on Bryzgalov? Because if it’s not, all you’re doing is setting up the next guy — maybe it’s Phoenix goalie Mike Smith! — to fail.

Related: Bryzgalov says he doesn’t care if the Flyers buy him out

Jason Demers tweets #FreeTorres, gets mocked

Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks - Game One

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.

Bruins list Chara on IR, for now

Zdeno Chara

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’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.