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

9 Comments

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.”

Bryzgalov gets first Ducks start since 2007

3 Comments

Considering Frederik Andersen’s iron man streak, it’s been an even longer time coming, but Ilya Bryzgalov is finally getting the first start of his second tour with the Anaheim Ducks tonight.

By facing the Ottawa Senators tonight, Bryzgalov starts for the Ducks for the first time since Nov. 7, 2007; the team points out that 2,599 days have passed since that last happened. Perhaps such a gap in time explains the horrible/awesome/horrible-awesome pun the team’s Twitter feed trotted out to mark the occasion.

If any team has a reason to see the upside of the 34-year-old, it would probably be the Ducks (or maybe the Arizona Coyotes).

Bryzgalov showed some promise despite sparse work (70 regular season games played) during five seasons with Anaheim in his previous stay, as the Russian goalie played especially well in two playoff spurts (.944 save percentage in 11 playoff games in 2006 and a .922 mark in five games played during the 2007 championship year).

Bryzgalov already made one appearance for Anaheim this season, as he allowed two goals on seven shots in about 15 minutes of relief work against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Dec. 16.

Ducks’ Andersen pulled in Toronto, enter Ilya Bryzgalov

5 Comments

He’s back!

Ilya Bryzgalov has entered the game for the Anaheim Ducks, after Frederik Andersen was pulled in the third period after allowing four goals on 20 shots against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.

Bryzgalov recently returned from a conditioning stint in the American Hockey League after signing with the Ducks earlier this month.

Ducks recall Heatley, Bryzgalov

8 Comments

The Anaheim Ducks brought some veteran experience up from AHL Norfolk on Monday, recalling goalie Ilya Bryzgalov and winger Dany Heatley.

Bryzgalov, 34, signed with the Ducks early December after injuries to John Gibson and Jason LaBarbera, and will work primarily as the backup to No. 1 Frederik Andersen moving forward. LaBarbera recently cleared waivers and will return to Norfolk, where he’ll work with Gibson (once the latter returns from a groin injury.)

As for Heatley, he returns to the Ducks after a brief two-game American League stint following groin surgery. The 33-year-old played two games for the Admirals — his first-ever AHL contests — and went scoreless with two PIM and a minus-3 rating.

Based on the timing of the recalls, it looks as though Heatley and Bryzgalov will both be ready to draw into Anaheim’s lineup on Tuesday against Toronto. Heatley has appeared in just four games for the Ducks this year, going pointless; Bryzgalov will make his season debut.

Ducks send Bryzgalov to AHL for conditioning

7 Comments

The Anaheim Ducks have assigned goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to the American Hockey League’s Norfolk Admirals on a conditioning loan.

The 34-year-old signed a one-year, $2.88 million contract on Tuesday.

Bryzgalov spent time with the Las Vegas Wranglers (ECHL), Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild last season.

He put together a 12-9-8 record in 32 games with the Oilers and Wild.

Bryzgalov spent parts of five seasons with the Ducks from 2001-08.

In all Bryzgalov has appeared in 457 NHL games with the Ducks, Coyotes, Flyers, Oilers and Wild where he has a career 2.56 G.A.A. and a .913 save percentage.