Flyers scrap silence policy, let Bryzgalov talk whenever he wants


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.

Philly hockey writers file complaint over Bryzgalov silence


The saga continues.

Just a short while after learning Flyers G Ilya Bryzgalov would only talk to the media following games in which he’s played, the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has filed a complaint, according to Sam Carchidi of Carchidi also notes the Flyers could be fined for not giving reporters proper player access.

[In addition, Carchidi points out Bryz’s original gag order has been amended: He will talk to the media, except the day before a game and the day of a game.]

This isn’t the first time things have gotten contentious between the Flyers and the Philly media. There was the Mike Richards vs. Philly media thing, the Dry Island thing and the Dan-Carcillo-saying-the-Philly-media-is-ridiculous thing. Come to think of it, you could say the relationship is mostly contentious with occasional moments of normalcy.

Silencing Bryzgalov, though, is a whole new level of contentiousness. The Flyers might think a gag order will quiet the storm, but the Flyers would be wrong. See, what reporters can do now is ask Bryzgalov’s teammates what they think about the silence (they’d ask Bryzgalov about it, but he’s not allowed to talk) — creating this really awkward scenario where a bunch of guys are forced to speak on behalf of the one guy that’s not allowed to speak for himself. Should make for a really harmonious dressing room.

There’s also that not-so-tiny issue of Philly shutting down its best quote machine while the HBO cameras are rolling, something CSN Philly’s Tim Panaccio noted:


To end things, here’s Bryzgalov’s infamous post-game interview following last week’s 9-8 loss to Winnipeg.

May as well enjoy it. There might not be many more coming our way.