Ilya Bryzgalov’s time with the Philadelphia Flyers was filled with controversy, odd moments, and for the Flyers, frustration. He was described as a “costly mistake” by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren after serving just two seasons of his nine-year, $51 million contract.
He was bought out and went unsigned over the summer, but he’s with the Edmonton Oilers now. Through his tumultuous times in Philadelphia, Bryzgalov claims he didn’t doubt himself and he’s not angry. He doesn’t even see this as a second chance for him.
“I never lost my first chance, you know,” he told the Edmonton Journal.
All the same, the 33-year-old goaltender wants to move past that part of his career.
“I am just glad to be back in the NHL, to get this opportunity with the Edmonton organization,” Bryzgalov said.
It helps that his new coach, Dallas Eakins, doesn’t seem terribly concerned over Bryzgalov’s past.
“The main thing was did we (GM Craig MacTavish and the coaches) think he could stop the puck,” Eakins said.
Edmonton will play against Columbus tonight, which would theoretically make for a fun match between Bryzgalov and former teammate Sergei Bobrovsky. In practice though, it sounds like Devan Dubnyk will probably start for Edmonton.
Does the NHL have a cocaine problem?
TSN caught up with deputy commissioner Bill Daly, who provided some fascinating insight:
“The number of [cocaine] positives are more than they were in previous years and they’re going up,” Daly said. “I wouldn’t say it’s a crisis in any sense. What I’d say is drugs like cocaine are cyclical and you’ve hit a cycle where it’s an ‘in’ drug again.”
Daly said that he’d be surprised “if we’re talking more than 20 guys” and then touched on something that may be a problem: they don’t test it in a “comprehensive way.”
As Katie Strang’s essential ESPN article about the Los Angeles Kings’ tough season explored in June, there are some challenges for testing for a drug like cocaine. That said, there are also some limitations that may raise some eyebrows.
For one, it metabolizes quickly. Michael McCabe, a Philadelphia-based toxicology expert who works for Robson Forensic, told ESPN.com that, generally speaking, cocaine filters out of the system in two to four days, making it relatively easy to avoid a flag in standard urine tests.
The NHL-NHLPA’s joint drug-testing program is not specifically designed to target recreational drugs such as cocaine or marijuana. The Performance Enhancing Substances Program is put into place to do exactly that — screen for performance-enhancing drugs.
So, are “party drugs” like cocaine and molly an issue for the NHL?
At the moment, the answer almost seems to be: “the league hopes not.”
Daly goes into plenty of detail on the issue, so read the full TSN article for more.
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.