Here’s a rather curious piece from Jim Souhan of the Minnesota Star-Tribune, in response to Ilya Bryzgalov’s first practice and media session as a member of the Wild:
Trading a fourth-round pick for a veteran backup goalie isn’t a problem, especially when the economy of that move enabled the addition of a quality player such as [Matt] Moulson. The problem is that this particular veteran backup goalie doesn’t appear to be someone you would entrust with your season.
[Wild GM Chuck] Fletcher knew Bryzgalov when they were together in Anaheim. That was a decade ago, before Bryzgalov’s career was defined by his massive contract, goofy quotes and horrid play in Philadelphia.
Bryzgalov whined a lot in Philly, when he wasn’t musing on the insignificance of human life in the cosmos. Thursday, he participated in his first practice with the Wild, then stood in front of the Wild-logo background for one of those obligatory and awkward introductory sessions with the local media.
We wanted him to be funny, or at least passionate about joining a likely playoff team. Bryzgalov, perhaps feeling burned for being more famous for deep thoughts than deep playoff runs, refused to turn on the charm.
Souhan didn’t like Bryzgalov’s response to a question asking what the last 24 hours had been like — to which Bryzgalov sort-of flippantly replied “you want minute by minute?’’
For further context, watch this video (Bryz segment starts at :45)
Having seen a few Bryzgalov scrums in the post-Philly era, this doesn’t strike me as anything out of the ordinary — it’s pretty much how Bryzgalov responded in every scrum as an Oiler. His days as a quote machine seem long gone, but he still answers questions like any run-of-the-mill NHLer would.
Souhan’s bigger issue, it seems, is that the Wild may be forced to rely on Bryzgalov as more than a backup goalie. With Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding essentially done for the year, the No. 1 gig is Darcy Kuemper’s to lose… and, given he’s only 23 years old with 24 games of NHL experience, it’s possible he’s not ready to shoulder the load.
Especially come playoff time.