Briere says he was only trying to pump Bryzgalov’s tires

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Monday we passed along a CSNPhilly.com article in which Danny Briere said Ilya Brygalov had “actually been a great teammate” lately – the inference being Bryzgalov hadn’t been a great teammate the whole time.

Also contained in the article was the following paragraph:

Briere said that guys sat Bryzgalov down and told him he needed to redirect the focus off himself and onto the team.

It didn’t paint the most serene picture of life in the Philadelphia dressing room, and since then it’s been an operation in damage control.

First was Briere, as reported by Philly.com: “I was trying to pump his tires and trying to be positive, and obviously people try to read between the lines… Bryz has been great and he’s playing awesome – and we need him to keep playing that way. He makes us all look better.”

Peter Laviolette did some firefighting, too. The coach told 97.5 the Fanatic (via sportsradiointerviews.com) he was unaware any players had spoken to Bryzgalov, though he wouldn’t say a sit-down didn’t happen.

As for Briere’s comments?

“In talking to Danny that’s not what he meant,” said Laviolette. “(It was) the way the article was written and the way it came across…you know how it works: they get in there, there’s a scrum, you talk for five minutes and they might take 15 seconds, 20 seconds, they might take the words that they want and the sentences that they want. I’m not saying that they made up something — they didn’t — but a lot of times you can take what you want and use it in context of a story that you have in your mind or whatever.”

Whichever angle you believe, we wouldn’t be talking about this if Bryzgalov didn’t have such a unique personality. It’s one of the pitfalls of signing a guy who the cameras and microphones adore.

Related: Briere’s goal slump reaches 20 games