In one of the shortest and most futile gag orders in the history of gag orders, the Philadelphia Flyers have decided to let G Ilya Bryzgalov talk to the media whenever he pleases.
The kerfuffle began yesterday when it was announced Bryzgalov would no longer talk with the media except after games he’d played in. When that was met with outrage, the Flyers amended it so that Bryzgalov would not talk the day before or the morning of games. When that was met with outrage (most notably by the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers association, who filed a complaint), the Flyers finally threw their hands up in the air, said screw it and just let Bryzgalov talk all the time.
Flyers head coach Peter Laviolette tried explaining the idea behind the silence policy to Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I’m just trying to give him a break a little bit,” Laviolette said, explaining why the no-talking days were (then) going to be implemented. “We just talked. There’s just too much coming out. We’re trying to protect him, just to let him focus on the game.”
But by protecting Bryz, Laviolette and the Flyers also tried to control the media — and if there’s one thing the media doesn’t like, it’s being controlled. (The media also doesn’t like airport security, password-protected WiFi and missing the Holiday Inn’s complimentary breakfast bar.)
The biggest question to come from all of this is: Do the Flyers know something about Bryzgalov we don’t? Sure, he’s a quirky guy…but he’s always been a quirky guy. In fact, he’s been a quirky guy throughout his 10-year career. He’s played in over 300 regular season games (27 more in the playoffs) and been available to talk both prior to and after them. There’s a long history of Bryzgalov saying crazy stuff to the media before Philly gave him $51 million.
Also, he’s 31 years old. He’s married, he’s got two kids. A full-fledged grownup.
If I had to guess, the Flyers quickly realized they were treating a seasoned professional like an 18-year-old draftee from Moose Jaw, and pulled the plug. The PHWA complaint probably played a role, but give the organization credit for balking on what was a bad idea in the first place.