Anaheim Ducks v San Jose Sharks

Bryzgalov clears waivers, Ducks recall LaBarbera

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Ilya Bryzgalov cleared waivers on Monday — to nobody’s surprise — and, shortly thereafter, the Ducks moved quickly and replaced him on the active roster recalling veteran Jason LaBarbera from AHL Norfolk.

For Bryzgalov, this could be the end of his NHL activity for the season. Signed to a one-year, $2.88 million deal — which is a fairly big price tag, given he’s only played eight games for the Ducks — the 34-year-old netminder could report to AHL Norfolk, though it remains unclear if he’ll accept a move to the minors.

For Anaheim, the move gives them three goalies at the NHL level. LaBarbera joins John Gibson and Frederik Andersen — who’s close to returning from injury — and it sound as though Gibson will start and LaBarbera will back up tonight when the Ducks take on Detroit.

Report: Ducks place Bryzgalov on waivers

Ilya Bryzgalov
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The Anaheim Ducks have reportedly placed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov on waivers.

Bryzgalov joined the Ducks in December on a professional tryout and appeared in eight games posting a 1-4-1 record to go along with a 4.19 G.A.A. and an .847 save percentage.

His last appearance came on Feb.10 against the Florida Panthers where he allowed three goals on eight shots before being replaced by John Gibson.

Gibson has started all five games (3-2-0) for the Ducks since that 6-2 loss to the Panthers. Anaheim plays host to the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night. According to Eric Stephens of The Orange County Register, Frederik Andersen (neck) could be back this week.

Bryzgalov split last season between the Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild before going unsigned in the offseason.

Bryzgalov pulled against Panthers, Gibson takes over in net

Ilya Bryzgalov
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Ilya Bryzgalov faced only eight shots against the Florida Panthers, before getting hooked early in the second period of Tuesday’s game.

However, despite not facing a huge total of shots, the three goals allowed — the final one coming on Aaron Ekblad’s ninth of the season — ended Bryzgalov’s night. John Gibson, recalled with Frederik Andersen now on IR, took over in net.

The Ducks, Pacific Division leaders and with a chance to take over top spot in the Western Conference, found themselves down 3-0, but scored less than two minutes after Bryzgalov was pulled to cut the deficit to two goals before the midway point of the second period.

Sharks chase Bryzgalov, down Ducks

Joe Pavelski, Ilya Bryzgalov
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The San Jose Sharks have just had the Anaheim Ducks’ number lately. That continued in a big way on Thursday, as they prevailed 6-3.

Just take a look at two stats that exemplify the fact that it wasn’t all on Ilya Bryzgalov.

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There were some out there who wondered if Bryzgalov was getting unfair treatment when he went into the 2014-15 season without an NHL contract. On a night like this, it’s difficult to imagine him playing at the highest level next year.

The San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks came into Thursday’s second period tied 1-1 and then things just fell apart for Bryzgalov & Co. It wasn’t all Bryzgalov’s fault, yet it’s still hard not to focus on him after he gave up six goals on 25 shots.

Some of those tallies were just pretty, like this great bit of puck movement that set up Joe Pavelski’s power-play goal:

Others were just rough to watch, like this Matt Irwin tally:

The Ducks probably wanted Bryzgalov to stick it out, but that was just getting uncomfortable.

Bryzgalov came in with a 1-2-0 record and a lousy .854 save percentage, yet his last start showed some promise. That’s gone away now.

The last two goals allowed were especially rough:

Oof.

Update: The Ducks scored a couple garbage goals to make the score more respectable, but there weren’t really any fireworks in the third period. The Sharks ultimately took the game 6-3.

OK, one eventful thing happened in the later moments:

Bryzgalov was willing to retire, but he’s happy in Anaheim

Ilya Bryzgalov
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The summer of 2014 went by without Ilya Bryzgalov securing an NHL contract. The team he finished the 2013-14 campaign with, the Minnesota Wild, gave him the opportunity to participate in training camp on a tryout basis, but he ultimately didn’t make the squad.

His career seemed to be in jeopardy despite his largely solid season, but Bryzgalov wasn’t worried. Already financially set following the Philadelphia Flyers’ decision to buy him out, he would have been content to call it a career.

“I was enjoying my life, to be honest,” he said, per Canada.com. “I was not worried about hockey at that time. If something came up good, I would look at it … if it was not, I was in a great position too. I had a great career if nothing came up.

“I read lots of articles about myself in the newspapers like some journalists (said) maybe he felt bad, he got to come back. No, it was like I felt great. I was enjoying my life.”

Eventually Anaheim took an interest in him though after goaltender John Gibson suffered a groin injury and Bryzgalov liked the idea of returning to the team that drafted him in 2000. Bryzgalov has only played in three games with the Ducks since signing on Dec. 9, but that hasn’t dampened his spirits.

“I have like lots of connections with California,” he said. “Me and my wife were married here, my son was born here, we built the first house here, we won the Cup here.”

He’s happy to get another chance to win it all with Anaheim. On the rare occasions that they need him, he’ll go out and try to secure a victory.

“That’s all I can do,” he said. “The rest of the stuff I don’t worry about.”

It’s a long way from where he was just a couple years ago when he said he endured a season he “wouldn’t wish to an enemy.”