Bryzgalov reflects on Game 5, gaffe: “An unlucky night”


It’s almost too easy to scapegoat Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov for their five-game second round letdown against the New Jersey Devils. After all, the series-clinching goal he allowed will likely live on in fans’ memories long after people forget about Philly’s tepid offense (it was only 2-1 New Jersey in the first period of what was eventually a 3-1 loss) and porous defense. One could say Bryzgalov was a victim of bad luck.

In fact, that’s basically what Bryzgalov said when he explained that gaffe to NBC’s Tom Layberger.

“I tried to put the puck in the corner for Kimmo [Timonen] for him to start a breakout,” Bryzgalov said. “It was an unlucky night.”

Bryzgalov’s not totally wrong, yet I get the feeling he’ll get a beating for not following Joel Ward’s lead by taking the blame whether it was totally fair or not.

That being said, Bryzgalov can easily be blamed for trying to make “the fancy play” rather than having crucial self-awareness. Breezy is in the league’s lower ranks when it comes to puckhandling, so one could argue that he was ill-advised to attempt a lower percentage pass.

See for yourself by watching the goal again, although if you’re a Flyers fan, you’re probably already primed to see it in your nightmares.

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Video: Ilya Bryzgalov’s 2012 playoffs in one huge gaffe

Ilya Bryzgalov

PHT’s own Joe Yerdon captures this goal the best. If you’ve played a hockey video game, you’ve likely made this mistake before: you get antsy to pass with your goalie … so you cough it up to the opposing forward for a grief-stricken goal. That’s exactly what Philadelphia Flyers albatross-in-net Ilya Bryzgalov did with New Jersey Devils forward David Clarkson in the 2-1 goal, which was the eventual series-winner as the Devils closed things out 3-1 to win the series 4-1.

Here is that highlight, which will likely haunt Breezy and the Flyers for weeks if not months:

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It kind of symbolizes Bryzgalov’s sloppy, almost unfathomable 2012 playoff mess in a way, doesn’t it? Feel free to insert your favorite “humongous bad” jokes in the comments because they’re pretty much inevitable.

Bryzgalov laments all the monkey astronauts lost to space travel

Ilya Bryzgalov - Epic - 24-7

First, a disclaimer — according to various Flyers beat reporters, nobody actually recorded all of Ilya Bryzgalov’s latest “this guy might be a genius, but he also might be on peyote” dissertation. According to Sam Carchidi of, Bryz was rambling along until the cameras went on and he declined to say anything further.

In light of that, kudos to Comcast’s John Gonzalez for piecing this together:

When asked what he would have done if he hadn’t become a professional hockey goalie, Bryzgalov didn’t hesitate.

“Astronaut,” he said quickly.

The media pack sort of blinked back at him. No one was sure whether he was kidding. He wasn’t.

“No, seriously,” he added.

At which point Bryzgalov began a long dissertation about the American space program versus the Soviet/Russian space program and which was superior. He noted that the first two animals in space were Russian dogs, which led to a strange exchange between Bryzgalov and a reporter about who had lost more monkeys in space — the Americans or the Soviets/Russians. Bryzgalov conceded that too many monkeys had lost their lives in that vocation. 

“The problem with monkeys,” Bryzgalov quipped, “they push the wrong buttons.”

Well, you know what they say: Chimpin’ ain’t easy.

/bangs gong, makes wokka wokka sound

Bryzgalov wants you to credit Devils instead of bashing Flyers


For anyone aware of Ilya Bryzgalov’s eccentric personality before HBO fixed its cameras on him,* the idea of him playing in a harsh media and fan environment for the Philadelphia Flyers was fascinating. (Or worrisome, if you were a Philly fan “in the know.”)

After all these months, Breezy’s tiger-protecting naivete is still sort of charming. When asked about the New Jersey Devils’ dominant 4-1 win – and the Flyers’ flaccid effort – Bryzgalov told Sam Carchidi how he’d like the story to be framed.

“Bryz says give Devils credit instead of criticizing Flyers.”

My guess is that will happen right around the time that the Philadelphia Eagles erect a Donovan McNabb statue.

* – Yes, he said weird and hilarious things well before 24/7 came along.

Briere: Bryzgalov was “the only one who showed up tonight”


When the Philadelphia Flyers went up 1-0 early in Game 2 against the New Jersey Devils, it seemed like it was going to be one of those games again. Not necessarily a win, but at least one of those high-flying Flyers efforts that have made them stand out as a wide-open team in a playoffs brimming with defense-first (second and last) squads. Instead, they folded after that 1-0 lead, expecting Ilya Bryzgalov to do it all and thus suffered a predictable 4-1 loss.

Danny Briere has been a hero for most of the playoffs basically since his first postseason game with Philly, but he didn’t have a great Game 2. He seems like a pretty accurate judge of the team’s effort, then, as he told Sam Carchidi.

“[We had] no desperation,” Briere said. “It’s frustrating. Bryz is really the only one who showed up tonight.”

Perhaps that’s a slight exaggeration, but it was a pretty pitiful team effort after the Flyers went up 1-0. The power play went without a goal for the first time in the playoffs (0-for-5) while Claude Giroux (zero points) was awfully quite and Briere (-3 rating) was brutal on defense.

Bryzgalov kept the team in the game even after New Jersey generated a 12-2 shot advantage in the second period, but eventually the floodgates opened in a four-goal (empty-netter included) third period.

For a team that seemingly generated most – if not all – of its five playoff wins despite Bryzgalov’s play, it’s strange that they lost despite one of his best performances in months. However their goalie performs on a nightly basis, Philly needs to turn things around against its division rivals or the Flyers will face another second round exit.