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.
Damon Severson was a healthy scratch on Saturday.
It’s the last game he wants to miss this season.
“I had a good chat with a few people and just pretty much said, ‘I want to be in the next 80 games,’” Severson said, per The Record. “I sat out my game and that’s all I want to be out for for the year.”
Severson is one of the Devils’ most important young players. But this is also the 21-year-old defenseman’s sophomore season, and that’s when slumps can occur.
Hence, the early message he was sent by the coaching staff.
Severson is expected to be back in the lineup tonight when New Jersey hosts Nashville.
“He doesn’t have to be perfect,” coach John Hynes told reporters. “We’d just like to see him have a high compete level. We know he’s ready to go. We had a couple of good meetings with him. He’s in a good spot mentally. I know he’s ready to roll.”
Jake Virtanen, the sixth overall pick in the 2014 draft, will make his NHL debut tonight when his Canucks meet the Kings in Los Angeles.
The 19-year-old winger was a healthy scratch for Vancouver’s first three games of the regular season. He had two goals and two assists in six preseason games.
“I can’t wait,” he told reporters. “My energy is high. I want to get a couple of hits on my first shift.”
Big and physical with goal-scoring ability, the consensus is that Virtanen will remain in the NHL and not be returned to junior after he’s played nine games. That consensus could always change based on his play, of course.
The Canucks — who won last night in Anaheim — did not have a full skate this morning, so it’s unclear who will come out of the lineup. The best guess is rookie Jared McCann, who’s been playing third-line center.
If McCann does come out, the Canucks could move Brandon Sutter to third-line center and Virtanen could take Sutter’s spot on the first line with the Sedin twins. Or, there could be more extensive line juggling.