Forward Danny Briere and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov have one thing in common: the Philadelphia Flyers have confirmed that both players will be bought out in the interest of freeing up cap space.
Bryzgalov has been a polarizing figure in Philadelphia, both for his performance between the pipes and the steady stream of interesting quotes he’s provided during his tenure with the club.
It got to the point where there were questions about whether his personality played a role in the Flyers’ decision to sever his nine-year, $51 million contract. With that in mind, Briere was asked if Bryzgalov was liked in the Flyers’ dressing room.
“It was split,” Briere told CSN Philadelphia. “Some guys liked him. Some guys did not like him, but that wasn’t really the issue … I think the Flyers felt it was better for the team moving forward.”
Bryzgalov got plenty of media attention in the lead-up to the 2012 Winter Classic, courtesy of HBO’s “24/7.” The Flyers eventually decided to give Sergei Bobrovsky the high-profile start and Bryzgalov chose to publicly reveal the “great news” himself.
“Goalies are all a little different,” Briere said. “Apart from Marty Biron, who was the most normal one, they all have different personalities and we all saw what Bryz’s personality was when “24/7” came on. That was Bryz. At the end of the day, he’s a goalie.
“It’s not the players’ fault or right to be bothered by what he says or does. Most of what we do has to be within the team concept. But if you think about it, the goalie is free. He doesn’t have to know what the forecheck or neutral zone trap is. He is on the spotlight every single shot. He has to be aware. Bryz was Bryz.”
Holmgren: ‘Costly mistake’ resulted in Bryzgalov buyout, largest in NHL history
Ilya Bryzgalov’s future in Philadelphia is in doubt, that much we know.
After seeing Mark Streit agree to a lucrative new deal with the Flyers and Danny Briere bought out out of the final two years of his contract, Bryzgalov might be the next to be paid to go away.
Bryzgalov’s agent, Ritch Winter, tells Sportsnet 960 in Calgary (via Frank Servalli of Philly.com – worth a read as he tears the duo apart) that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren will give him a heads up if something is going down.
“Paul has also been candid enough to say, ‘Never say never. I don’t know what I’m going to be offered at some point, so I’m not going to guarantee you anything, except that I will give you plenty of warning if I do so,’ ” Winter told Sportsnet radio.
So what if, as the Flyers decide to keep him around? Winter says his client is up for the challenge.
“At the end of the day, he would rather look face-first into that storm and face the challenge and make the changes necessary for the goaltending to be part of the success Philadelphia has, rather than run away from it. Ilya Bryzgalov is a lot of things, but he’s not afraid of a challenge.”
Safe to say the Philly drama is only just starting to pick up. The next couple weeks should be a real hoot.
Thursday was an emotional day for Danny Briere.
The Philadelphia Flyers organization has made it clear that it will use one of its compliance buyouts on Briere, who was in the midst of an eight-year, $52 million contract.
Briere, who scored six goals and had 16 points in 34 regular season games this year, later responded the club’s decision.
“This is my home,” Briere said, as per CSN Philadelphia. “Wherever I’m going to end up, the kids are staying here, and I’m coming back here. Yeah, this is my home. This is what we consider home now.”
Briere, 35, will soon be made an unrestricted free agent, which poses a number of different options and opportunities for him to ponder.
“There’s a lot of things that we will have to consider,” he said.
“Obviously, the kids [are] an issue. We’ll have to consider also if it’s a team that has a chance to win a Stanley Cup or not, a team that might have a role for me or not. Those are all questions that at this point I don’t really know, and I don’t know which one’s going to take over.”
Early indication is that he’ll have plenty of interest from other NHL clubs.
According to TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger, 15 or more teams are believed to have interest in Briere once he becomes a UFA.
Philadelphia’s playoff hopes are in dire straits but they’ll get a bit of a lift this afternoon against the Sabres.
Danny Briere makes his return to the lineup after being out since March 18 with a concussion, a span of 10 games. In 26 games this season, he’s got just five goals and eight assists for the the Flyers. In his career against the Sabres, however, Briere has given his former team nightmares with seven goals and eight assists in 21 games.
The Flyers hope Briere can give them a bit more of a lift as they chase the Rangers and Islanders for the final playoff spot in the East. As it is, they sit seven points back of the Rangers with eight games to play.
Philadelphia defenseman Kimmo Timonen will be a game-time decision tomorrow night in Winnipeg when the Flyers try to win their fifth in a row and creep even closer to a playoff position.
“Kimmo hates not playing, so I feel pretty good about his chances of playing tomorrow,” said Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren today, per CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio.
Timonen was hurt during the third period of yesterday’s 5-3 victory in Toronto and was seen limping around the locker room afterward.
The 38-year-old is one of the Flyers’ most important players, averaging 21:24 of ice time and leading all Philly defensemen with 24 points.
More Flyers injury news from CSNPhilly.com:
Holmgren also announced that defenseman Nik Grossmann, who has missed seven games with an upper-body injury, is still day-to-day, while Danny Briere is out indefinitely with a concussion.
Related: Flyers’ playoff chances up to 1 in 4