The Philadelphia Flyers’ acquisition of goaltender Steve Mason fueled rumors that they might buy out Ilya Bryzgalov’s contract over the summer.
Flyers GM Paul Homgren has since attempted to squash that speculation. Either way, Mason has made it clear that his goal is to become Philadelphia’s number one goaltender, based on a CSN Philly report.
So how does Bryzgalov feel about the competition?
“I think it’s a great for the team when you have two good goalies on the team,” Bryzgalov told CSN Philly. “During the season, I didn’t have much opportunity for rest during the long stretch. I was kind of exhausted. You have luxury of having second goalie who can play great, too, it’s wonderful for the team. You play another goalie and he can win the games, too.”
Before Mason joined the squad, Bryzgalov had to play in almost every game. That workload, especially given the condensed schedule got to him.
“At some point during the year I was, like, empty, like an empty tank,” Bryzgalov said. “It’s a luxury when you have two goalies. A good luxury. You never know what is gonna happen. Some goalie get injured or have some bad stretches. It could be anything. If you have a second goalie who is good, it’s good for the team. It’s all about the team.”
Bryzgalov didn’t want to speculate on whether the Flyers could have made the playoffs if he had been given more games off, but it sounds like he sees the benefit of Mason’s addition.
Of course, Mason wants to do more than just give Bryzgalov the occasional breather. He’ll try to earn playing time at the expense of Bryzgalov.
“Healthy competition is always good,” Bryzgalov said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.