In case you have foggy memories (or your memory is getting foggier on Fat Tuesday), Ilya Bryzgalov shuddered at the thought of Phoenix’s possible move to Winnipeg. Most infamously, the Russian netminder complained of the market’s lack of parks, which presumably would be a bummer for his hot chick-like dog.
With that in mind, this was the first real time for Winnipeg Jets fans to troll away. And yes, they serenaded him with plenty of “Illyyyyaaaaa” chants, but he (sort of) got the last laugh because the Flyers beat the Jets 5-4 in overtime.
That’s not to say that Bryzgalov was exactly lights out as he allowed those four goals on just 26 shots, but the W can heal a lot of wounds.
The bright side for the Jets is that the Toronto Maple Leafs were unable to fatten their lead for eight place in the East as the New Jersey Devils edged them in OT too by a score of 4-3. Winnipeg is off to a nice start with their eight-game homestand as they’re now 2-0-1. Here is a look a the rest of their home-heavy next 10 games:
Thursday: vs. Tampa Bay
Saturday: vs. St. Louis
Feb. 27: vs. Edmonton
March 1: vs. Florida
March 5: vs. Buffalo
March 8: at Vancouver
March 9: at Calgary
March 14: vs. Dallas
March 16: vs. Washington
March 18: vs. Carolina
There are some genuine challenges in that set (particularly that tough back-to-back duo on the road), but the Jets could make up some serious ground on the Leafs and the Southeast Division in that time.
Even with that win, the Flyers merely stood in place in the East’s playoff midsection. The Pittsburgh Penguins blanked the New York Rangers 2-0 while the aforementioned Devils beat the Leafs so Philly remains in fifth.
Placement probably doesn’t matter a ton to Philadelphia since its road record (19-9-2) is actually better than what they’ve done at home (14-10-5).
In fact, Philly might just be better of taking the sixth spot – which would get that much more intriguing if the Jets ended up being the Flyers’ first round hosts.
Those hoping that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren’s shopping spree will include a goaltender are out of luck. The Flyers have tried to aide their goalies by acquiring two big, physical defensemen in Pavel Kubina and Nicklas Grossman, but at the end of the day, Holmgren is still putting his faith in Ilya Bryzgalov and, to a lesser extent, Sergei Bobrovsky. Holmgren also said that his plans don’t include calling up Michael Leighton, who hasn’t exactly been dominant with the AHL Adirondack Phantoms anyways.
This news won’t sit well with some Flyers fans, but we can’t say that it comes as a surprise. Philadelphia signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year/$51 million contract and reshaped their team in the process to make that deal more viable from a cap hit perspective. They aren’t about to abandon that commitment in year one, even if he has given Flyers’ fans cause for concern.
Ilya Bryzgalov isn’t afraid to speak his mind or publicly criticize himself, but following Pittsburgh’s 6-4 victory over Philadelphia on Saturday, Bryzgalov seemed more interested is passing the blame.
Bryzgalov did acknowledge that he needs to improve, even as he complained about how others are portraying him, so he should get some credit for that. All the same, the Flyers goaltending is their single biggest question mark going into the postseason. The Flyers recent acquisitions of defensemen Pavel Kubina and Nicklas Grossman should help, but Bryzgalov will also need to be at his best in the playoffs.
Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov knows he’s not feeling well.
But as to why he’s not feeling well?
“I’m still sick,” Bryzgalov told CSN’s Tim Panaccio on Sunday. “I have no idea what [it is]. I’m not a doctor. I wasn’t throwing up.”
The $51-million man has missed Philly’s last three games with the illness and was dropped from the lineup entirely in a 5-2 loss to the Rangers (Jason Bacashihua was recalled from the AHL to back up Sergei Bobrovsky.) Bryz was healthy enough to back up Bob in Detroit last night, but said he’s still not feeling up to snuff.
“I can’t breath normally,” he said. “I have a sore throat. Headaches.”
There does appear to be a light and the end of the tunnel, however. Bryzgalov has started reacting positively to antibiotics and with the Flyers in the midst of a four-day break, there’s a good chance he’ll recover in time to face the Sabres on Thursday.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
The Philadelphia Flyers must miss simpler times when Ilya Bryzgalov compared women to exotic animals and pontificated about the universe. Now his confidence is in a place where he said that shootouts make him feel like a soccer net is behind him. Yikes. (CSNPhilly.com)
With this morning’s upcoming big (and totally mysterious) announcement in mind, the Toronto Maple Leafs would love to be involved in the next HBO 24/7 series. Enjoy a few interesting takes on which Buds would be the biggest stars if that happens. (The Toronto Star)
Is Ales Hemsky on the Nashville Predators’ trade radar? (On the Forecheck)
Sure, Rick Nash is frustrated, but Aaron Portzline believes that “nothing has changed” in the relationship between the Columbus Blue Jackets and their captain. (Aaron Portzline’s Twitter)
The Anaheim Ducks stayed hot with an overtime win against the Carolina Hurricanes, but it wasn’t without some controversy. It’s hard to deny the sentiment that Corey Perry should have gotten a penalty creating the turnover that allowed him to score the game-winner:
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Rich Hammond examines whether or not the Los Angeles Kings are shopping much-ballyhooed backup Jonathan Bernier. Going further, Hammond wonders what the Kings could get if they decided to deal the hyped netminder. (LA Kings Insider)
Want to read another story about the Philadelphia Flyers bringing Luke and Brayden Schenn together? Of course you do. (Toronto Sun)
Joe Haggerty provides 15 thoughts on the Boston Bruins-Buffalo Sabres game. I bet I’ve than 15 thoughts in a full day. (CSNNE.com)
Harvey Fialkov reports that Jose Theodore is ready to return to action, but he’ll back up Scott Clemmensen on Thursday. Look, when your goalie’s coming off a game where he allowed four goals on 24 shots, you gotta ride the hot ha-wait a minute … (Florida Sun-Sentinel)
Want evidence of the power of the Winter Classic? It will bring beer to the Big House! (Detroit Free Press)
Chris Phillips looks back on his career as game No. 1,000 approaches. (NHL.com)