In October, Ilya Bryzgalov provided one of the season’s best soundbites when, in trying to explain his poor play, he said he was “lost in the woods.”
Now — just prior to the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs — Bryz is at it again with references to the outdoors. On Monday, one intrepid reporter asked the Flyers goalie for his take on Philly’s opening round opponent, the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Here’s how that went:
Reporter: What’s the biggest threat that the Penguins have?
Bryzgalov: You know, I’m not afraid of anything. I’m afraid of bears — bears in the forest.
And here’s the video:
While this quote isn’t a big deal — what was Bryz going to say, that he’s terrified of the Pens? — you have to wonder if some within the Flyers organization aren’t awkwardly pulling at their collars right now.
Bryzgalov’s best stretch of play this year coincided with him focusing on hockey and avoiding the Yakov Smirnoff routine (conversely, his worst stretch coincided with trying out monologue material with reporters.)
There’s also the notion that the bigger the stage, the more Bryzgalov is likely to put his foot in his mouth. We saw evidence of this at the 2012 Winter Classic, when he let the cat out of the bag that Sergei Bobrovsky would be getting the start in goal (an attempt to be funny that, reportedly, infuriated head coach Peter Laviolette.)
While it’s probably too soon for Philly to start thinking about re-instituting the gag order, one wonders if this might be the last Bryzgalov quip we get this postseason.
Ilya Bryzgalov’s attempt on Tuesday to play through the chip fracture in his foot didn’t go well for the Philadelphia Flyers. They lost 5-3 to the Rangers and Bryzgalov ended up stopping just 19 of 24 shots. However, Flyers GM Paul Holmgren wasn’t about to blame his goaltender for that loss.
“You couldn’t fault him for any of the goals. I’m not concerned at all,” Holmgren said. “It’s good he got a game behind him and now he can move forward.”
Wayne Simmonds echoed Holmgren’s comments by saying, “We didn’t help him too much.”
Bryzgalov will probably play between the pipes on Thursday against the desperate Sabres. Buffalo is tied with Washington for eighth place with just two games left, but the Capitals control the tiebreaker. That means that if Buffalo loses in regulation and Washington wins, then the Sabres will be eliminated.
With that in mind, the Sabres might be an even tougher challenge for Philadelphia than the first place Rangers were on Tuesday.
Can’t blame the usually loquacious Ilya Bryzgalov for being quiet on Wednesday.
The Flyers lost to the Rangers for the sixth and final time, marking New York’s first season sweep of Philadelphia in 40 years. Bryzgalov was front and center for the loss, allowing four goals on the first 11 shots in his return game after missing two with a chip fracture in his foot.
The foot injury one thing Bryz declined to discuss postgame, according to CSN Philadelphia’s Tim Panaccio.
Asked how he felt …
“I can’t tell you anything about me,” he replied, then added to ask him about his foot on Wednesday.
Does the foot bother you?
“We are close to the playoffs, I don’t want to talk about this.”
To be fair, Bryzgalov was hung out to dry on a number of occasions. The Rangers scored twice on the power play and Philadelphia’s defensive-zone coverage left much to be desired (like in this instance):
“It is a little bit tough,” Bryzgalov said. “They had some power plays and some five on threes. It seems like in the first period there was a shot and a rebound and maybe we kind of waited a little bit.
“Maybe it was a little bit fresher. It is tough to say, but they scored goals because of it.”
It’ll be interesting to see if Bryzgalov can regain his form in time for the playoffs. On Monday, he was named the NHL’s player of the month for March after posting a 10-2-1 record with a 1.43 GAA and .947 save percentage.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ playoff goaltending outlook seems like it’s on an unending seesaw this season. First, it seemed like Ilya Bryzgalov would be a huge free agent bust. Things started to turn around and then his work skyrocketed in March, earning him the first star of the month. Just as life was looking good, Breezy got an injury that sure didn’t sound like something you’d come back from in little time.
Maybe he shouldn’t have.
Always-sunny Philly fans serenaded Bryzgalov & Co. as they left the ice after a tough first period as the New York Rangers opened up a 4-0 lead. Bryzgalov allowed a Ryan McDonagh goal at the 6:25 mark of the first period, Brian Boyle’s 10th of the season about five minutes later and then two power-play goals 36 seconds apart late in the first.
Peter Laviolette faces an interesting decision in the first intermission. He could either sit Bryzgalov and give him the chance to gather his bearings in one of Philly’s other final games or insert a little stubbornness into the scenario by trying to let him fight through it.
What would you do with the notably … different goalie if you were him? It’s also hard to avoid asking one other question: will Philly face another netminder conundrum in the playoffs?
There’s a chance that Flyers goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov will play in Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers, according to GM Paul Holmgren. Bryzgalov has been out for three straight contests because of a chip fracture in his foot.
Although nothing is set in stone, the Flyers could certainly use the boost in morale that Bryzgalov’s return would provide. They were able to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday, but Daniel Briere and Nicklas Grossmann were both hurt in the process.
Bryzgalov has been hot-and-cold this season, but he was on fire prior to the injury. He has a 14-5-3 record and five shutouts since the All-Star break and was the NHL’s player of the month for March.
With three games left in the Flyers’ schedule, they’re fighting with the Pittsburgh Penguins for fourth place in the Eastern Conference and home ice advantage in their probable first round matchup. Philadelphia is one point behind the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Update: Pat Leonard of the New York Daily News reports Bryzgalov will get the start tonight.