Tag Archives: Ilya Bryzgalov

Twitter Mailbag: Flyers At The Midway Point

10 Jan

From time to time, we reach into the Twitter machine and address some questions that Flyers fans have. With Tuesday night’s game sending the Flyers to the midway point of the year, this is a good time to take a step back and evaluate.

Here’s some of the best:

@ChristopheTaitt — i’m starting to think all the money the Flyers have in goalies is a waste! wasnt Bryz supposed to be stable goaltender?

Yes, he is. Although he said he knew what it would be like coming to Philly, I think he underestimated all the attention and definitely underestimated the microscope that the sports scene lives under. That said, I really think these last two games we’re seeing him play some really good hockey. Yeah, it’s tough to defend a guy who allowed five goals last game, but two of them were put in by his own teammates. I think we’re seeing a more confident Bryz. The question is whether he loses hope because of a loss that was really on his defense and not him.

@cubishboy — What’s the delay in calling Gus up?

I’m not entirely sure. He is physically ready, that much I know. He’s played five games since returning from a left wrist injury and has three assists in that time. In talking to him after the Outdoor Classic, he says he’s just waiting on the Flyers for a call. Andreas Lilja has been a liability on the back line, but he makes $737,500 and Gustafsson makes $900,000. It behooves the Flyers to use as little of their long-term injured reserve cap relief as possible

@RipVanEichwald — supposing bryz doesn’t turn his game around, are there any outs in his contract?

Right now, no. The school of thought exists that the next CBA might have a “get out of jail free” card to use on one contract. Even if the Flyers got that, they probably wouldn’t use it on Bryzgalov’s contract. The more likely scenario is that they use it on Chris Pronger, who has five years left on his deal after this season.

@Flyerdelphia — If they wanted to call up Leighton does he have to go thru re-entry waivers?

They don’t, but yes, he would.

@John_Devereaux — How realistic do u think getting Shea Weber or Ryan Suter would be? Or do they suck it up and bring up an Erik Gustafsson?

Paul Holmgren is becoming more and more unpredictable. Right now, I think the Flyers will keep with what they have. Come time for the trade deadline (Feb. 27) if the Nashville Predators don’t think they’re making a run, I think the Flyers could go after Shea Weber. To me, Weber looks like Pronger in 1999. I guess we’ll see what Holmgren thinks in late February.

@major78 — …Dave…Why all the turnovers lately? How did Ott shut down our #1 line?…What are the fixes?

Claude Giroux told reporters that it wasn’t so much what the Senators did to him, but rather his own uninspired play. Most of the turnovers lately have come in the Flyers’ own end. The fix is just to play more responsibly defensively. Some passes need to not be made.

@Estebomb — Can the Flyers throw Chris Pronger into a Batman type Lazarus Pit to revive him? What about a time machine?

There are side effects to the Lazarus Pit. What if he comes out as Ra’s al Ghul? As for the time machine, the Flyers don’t have enough cap space for the DeLorean.

Flyers Collapse In Third, Lose At Ottawa

8 Jan

Two-goal leads are dangerous. Especially when the Flyers have them in the third period. For the third time in four games, the Flyers gave up a lead in the final period, but this time they weren’t able to recover. They were handed a 6-4 loss by Ottawa in the second half of a home-and-home, mainly because of some mistakes in their own end.

As impressive as the Flyers have been offensively, they need some work defensively. That was evident on the Senators’ first goal. Both Braydon Coburn and Matt Carle chased Kyle Turris who had the puck. With Daniel Alfredsson streaking toward the net, Turris had an easy pass target and the Senators’ captain had an easy time getting a shot off as Ilya Bryzgalov had already committed to Turris.

But the Flyers have been a resilient bunch and fired back. Andrej Meszaros’ blast from the point found its way behind Craig Anderson to tie the score. For Meszaros, it was a goal against the team that drafted him in his 500th NHL game.

Aside from the defense, young Flyers stepped up. Matt Read, Sean Couturier and Marc-Andre Bourdon each scored. That makes four rookies scoring five goals on the season in Ottawa. Couturier seems to especially enjoy playing in Ottawa. His goal on Sunday was his first in 22 games. He also scored his first NHL goal against Ottawa back in October.

Bryzgalov played well, despite the goals against. He allowed a goal from Chris Neil that it appeared as though he stopped at first glance, but a lengthy replay revealed that he brought the puck back out of the net from just behind the goal line.

In the third period, he had a goal scored against him that he had zero shot on. Colin Greening made a pass intended for Jason Spezza, but Carle extended his stick to block it and instead redirected it behind the Flyers’ netminder. All-Star Erik Karlsson beat Bryzgalov later in the third period when he took the shot on a 2-on-1 and beat him five-hole.

On the night, Bryzgalov was actually pretty good. In fact the past two games against Ottawa may have been some of his best hockey this season. He made 32 saves on the night and came up huge for the Flyers as time was winding down in the third period. For the most part, he was calm and confident, coming out of his crease to cut down the angle.

In front of him, the Flyers ran out of gas. With 1:11 left in the game, Filip Kuba scored his fourth of the year on a shot from the point that deflected off Scott Hartnell. That was the second of five goals against Bryzgalov that were put in the net by his teammates.

Focused Bryzgalov Comes Up Huge For Flyers

7 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — Ilya Bryzgalov didn’t do a lot of talking on Friday at practice. He politely answered questions, even threw in a bit of his trademarked comedy. He wanted his play to do the talking.

Yes, sure, he got the win on Thursday night over the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks. But in the third period he let in two goals that he wanted to have back. On Saturday, the performance was one of his best this year. He made 35 saves and got another win, one he felt better about.

“Bryz played well,” said Braydon Coburn. “He was solid to the shooter. He played the puck well tonight. He was solid in there all game for us tonight. When we needed him to come up with some big saves, he definitely did that, so he had a big night and I’m happy for him.”

Bryzgalov was subdued postgame, cautious not to be too outgoing or casual. He didn’t want to just goof around, something he had been accused of doing and subsequently ripped for. He was relaxed, but focused, just like how he played against Ottawa.

“Yeah, I was happy with my game tonight,” said Bryzgalov. “Like I said before, the other night was lots of positive signs and I’m glad I can improve my game tonight.”

The Flyers hit the post four times in the game, so it could have been much more than a 3-2 victory. Instead it was kept close from start to finish and part of that reason why was Bryzgalov. He came up huge on multiple occasions. From a glove save on Chris Neil while he was down on the ground, to a game-saving stop on Bobby Butler in overtime, Bryzgalov was there when the Flyers needed him most.

“It was 2-1 [Ottawa] and we gave up some 2-on-1s and they could have ran away with the game, but he was able to keep us in there,” said Danny Briere who scored each of the team’s three goals. “And in overtime, too, we had some breakdowns that we’d like to get back.”

There was a clear difference in Bryzgalov on the ice. It wasn’t just that he made the saves, but how. He was very good laterally, moving from post-to-post. He had to do that on the Butler stop in overtime. He was also much better at rebound control, something that has been a thorn in his side all year.

“You can play the game and you still feel not confident, not comfortable,” said Bryzgalov, referring to the game against Chicago where he made 30 saves on 34 shots, but won by the slimmest of margins, 5-4. “Then somehow after some save or something click in your head, you just be yourself again and everything finds you. Everything stops for you. You see everything. You hear everything. I dunno, it’s just mental.”

Whenever that happened for Bryzgalov is unclear. Judging by the difficulty of some of his first-period saves, it probably happened pretty early Saturday afternoon. Either way, the Flyers are glad to have him back.

“He was excellent, I thought from the start to the finish,” said Peter Laviolette. “Goaltending was a factor tonight. It was good both ways. A lot of opportunities and a lot of attempts, but our guy held us in there for some chances against Ottawa. They have a high-scoring team. We knew going into it they would generate chances and that we would need good goaltending.”

Who knows if there’s a correlation between Bryzgalov’s personality and his play? Maybe it doesn’t matter which “face,” as he said on HBO’s “24/7,” he puts on. But on Saturday he put on the serious face. He barely even smiled when asked about the win. But what’s clear is that his head was in the right place, and he was stopping pucks as well as he had all season.

Despite Struggles, Flyers Still Back Bryzgalov

5 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — It would have been a nice game if it stopped six minutes earlier. Ilya Bryzgalov had made a few real big saves to keep the Flyers in position to win. They had scored three goals in 4:20 to erase Chicago’s lead and give themselves one of their own.

Then it happened. Brent Seabrook took a Marc-Andre Bourdon slapshot that went off the post the other way and put it behind Bryzgalov. Then 25 seconds later Patrick Kane tied the game from point-blank range.

Luckily for Bryzgalov, James van Riemsdyk came up “humongous big” with the game winning goal in the final 32 seconds.

“There’s a lot of pressure on him obviously to come out and have a good game,” said Scott Hartnell. “Some weird plays. You leave Kane in the middle of the slot for what seemed like 10 seconds and you got the puck. A couple stickhandles and it goes right under the bar and in.”

Bryzgalov made 30 saves in his first win since Dec. 13 in Washington. He had lost his last four games and was benched for the Winter Classic.

“The second goal was tough,” said Peter Laviolette. “Kimmo [Timonen] was trying to get to the guy and they accidently hooked up with each other. That was a tough one. The fourth one, the coverage that we had wasn’t very good out there. We were reeling. I wished I had my timeout in my pocket so we could have slowed it down after the third goal, but I’d already burned it.

“He made big saves when we needed him to make big saves.”

Despite the rough stretch, his teammates have his back and think this could be the start of him bouncing back.

“I believe myself that he’s gonna be the goalie that leads us to a Stanley Cup victory,” said Hartnell.

Bryzgalov was not available for comment after the game. A team spokesman said that he was feeling ill and didn’t want to talk to the media. But at 10:45 p.m. he was well enough to tweet about the World Junior Championship where Russia lost 1-0 in overtime to Sweden.

His tweet praised Andrei Makarov, the Russian netminder who came up with the loss. Bryzgalov got his first win in almost a month, but apparently didn’t want to talk about that.

 

Flyers Survive Third Period Collapse

5 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — No one seemed to know why, but the Flyers didn’t appear to like playing at Wells Fargo Center. Citizens Bank Park was no better. On the road, they were fine, but an 8-6-2 record at home, like the real home, was not what Peter Laviolette was looking for.

“Home record is not where it needs to be,” said Laviolette. “Road record is excellent. We’ve got to start taking care of these home games and making sure they go in the [win] column. We need some attitude here with how we play the game.”

Attitude, jump, deflation, redemption, it was all accounted for in the Flyers’ 5-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. As if a test at home wasn’t tough enough, Laviolette’s bunch found themselves down early when Zac Rinaldo turned the puck over and it led to a Jimmy Hayes goal on a tip-in.

Rinaldo wanted to make up for it, so he fought Andrew Shaw to restart his night. He followed with a solid effort in both the offensive and defensive zones. The Flyers regained their composure and tallied in the final minute when Jakub Voracek scored his first goal in nine games on the rebound of a Braydon Coburn point shot.

Shaw scored for Chicago in the second period, but then the Flyers went on a tear. They scored three goals in 4:20 to give themselves a comfy two-goal lead, the most dangerous kind. Scott Hartnell started the comeback with a game-tying one-timer from Claude Giroux.

“It’s always great to have a good shift after an opponent scores a goal to try and get the momentum back,” said Hartnell. “[Matt] Read made a nice play to Giroux. I was popping up in the slot. The puck kind of got deflected and was up in the air and I whacked it out of the air and was able to go five hole.”

Harry Zolnierczyk added his third of the year and James van Riemsdyk his 10th later in the second period.

In the third, the Flyers came unraveled before they could blink. Marc-Andre Bourdon took a shot off the left post and Chicago took the puck the other way where Brent Seabrook ripped a shot to get Chicago within one. Then, only 25 seconds later, Patrick Kane tied it with a point blank shot from the slot.

After a Kane high-sticking call, the Flyers had the opportunity to go ahead on the power play and they took it. Hartnell fed van Riemsdyk down low for the game-winning power play tally with 32.5 seconds left.

“I was yelling for G and he made the better play, I think,” said van Riemsdyk. “He gave it to Hartsy and Hartsy put it right on my tape. All I could do was slide it right into the net.”

Not only did the win improve their record at Wells Fargo Center, but the Flyers kept up in the standings. They remain four points behind the New York Rangers for the best record in the league.

“It’s something that has been emphasized over the last stretch of home games, whenever that was,” said Matt Carle. “We know we need to step it up and if we do the kind of work we do on the road, we’ll be pretty successful team. I think a game tonight will hopefully kickstart some confidence at home and just kind of bring that road mentality to this building.”

Flyers Notebook: Jagr Skates, Bryzgalov Gets The Start

5 Jan

WELLS FARGO CENTER — Whether it’s his calf or his groin, something is ailing Jaromir Jagr. The good news, the winger said on Thursday, is that it won’t keep him out of the lineup too long.

He joined the team for morning skate but did not take part in any drills. While all the forwards wore white jerseys, Jagr wore orange and did some skating to stay in shape.

“It’s totally different than it was the first time,” said Jagr. “The first time I got injured, I felt a sharp pain. This one was a different pain, and it wasn’t that much pain. But I knew if I was played longer, it could get a lot worse. That’s why I stopped playing [Monday].”

While the pain is still there, it is minute according to Jagr. He said that when he becomes pain-free, he’ll give it a go. The initial diagnosis from the Flyers was seven to 10 days, but he thinks it might actually be a little sooner.

“I was kind of shocked when I heard that because I didn’t feel that way,” said the 39-year-old. “But I’m saying sometimes when you cannot skate, when you come back you need an extra three days to practice to get into game shape. When I’m skating like I did today, I don’t feel any pain. That’s to my advantage. Soon, I feel when I’m ready I can go, because I’ll be in good shape.”

On more than one occasion this season, Jagr has said that he really wants to prove what he can do in the playoffs, that that’s why he doesn’t feel pressured to return from an injury too soon. He also had some concerns about ice time in the offseason before he signed with the Flyers, but being on the top unit further alleviates his fears. But still, he doesn’t enjoy sitting out.

“To me, every game is big,” said Jagr. “You can see it. Don’t get me wrong, but in the new NHL, with the one-point for a (overtime and shootout loss), the race is too tight. You lose five or six games, you’re out of the playoffs. Look at Washington, they lost five or six games and they’re in 10th place. Everything is so close that you cannot afford to lose a lot of games. Every game is big for me.”

Bryzgalov Back In Net

After watching the last two games from the bench, Ilya Bryzgalov will go back between the pipes for the Flyers against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Despite the festivities being over, he continued to practice in the old school brown pads, glove and blocker. In fact, that’s a look the other goalie has adopted as well. Sergei Bobrovsky is wearing the brown pads after wearing his normal gear in the Winter Classic. He told Philly Sports Daily that he likes the pads and will continue to break them in.

Bryzgalov has a career 7-6-4 record against Chicago, but the nod to him is more about getting his confidence back.

“I expect him to go in there and play well,” said Peter Laviolette. “Again, my moves [to sit him in the Winter Classic] were made not necessarily for that reason. I already stated that it was based on [Sergei Bobrovsky] and the way he had been playing, those numbers. That’s what we did.”

The Flyers say that Bryzgalov has had a different attitude recently and there has been a newfound work ethic in practice.

“I think you can see he’s been working hard,” said Claude Giroux. “The last few practices he wants to get better. Everybody knows he’s a good goaltender. He’s just had some bad bounces. If he works hard like he’s been doing the last few weeks, I’m not even worried about it.”

Have no fear, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Bryzgalov will go without personality.

“He’s always gonna be joking around,” said Matt Carle. “I just think that’s his personality. I think once the puck drops hopefully the focus will be there. He’s a great goalie. He earned that contract that he has. Just because he had a bad stretch of games, I don’t think it means much. He’ll get back on track and we have all the confidence that he will.”

Flyers Back Bobrovsky For Winter Classic Start

1 Jan

CITIZENS BANK PARK — They’re almost like polar opposites. Sergei Bobrovsky is calm and quiet. He rarely shows emotion, even if he’s on the wrong end of a blowout game. Ilya Bryzgalov, for better or worse, wears his heart on his sleeve.

With the entire hockey world watching, the Flyers will turn to Bobrovsky in the Winter Classic on Monday at 3 p.m. The team confirmed that Bobrovsky will start after Bryzgalov dramatically announced his benching following the team’s practice.

But Philadelphia is used to drama in the goal crease. There isn’t really any outrage over Bryzgalov starting the game. In fact, the Flyers were quick to credit Bobrovsky who quietly works behind the scenes.

“Talking with Bob last year when we were having our end-of-the-year meetings, he struggled at the end of the year and he knew it,” said Scott Hartnell. “I think he’s a little tired from playing 30 games to playing 50 or whatever he played. He said ‘I’m not sure if we’re going to get a goalie next year, but I want to be No. 1.’

“I think that’s given him fuel to work out every day after practice and when he gets a chance to play to be great. He deserves the start. He’s played great. I think it’s great to have healthy competition between the two.”

Hartnell isn’t alone.

“Credit to Bob. He works hard. He always stays late,” said Braydon Coburn. “He’s in unbelievable shape. People forget he was a rookie last year. The confidence I’ve seen him play with this year has been impressive. Good for him because he’s played well for us.”

This season, Bobrovsky is 8-2-1 with a 2.52 goals-against average and .914 save percentage. He was reluctant to talk about the opportunity to start in the Winter Classic, but his smile showed his interest.

“It doesn’t matter who starts because the most important thing is the result,” said Bobrovsky through a translator. “It’s a real game. It’s two points on the line, so it’ll be special, but the result is the most important thing.”

While Bobrovsky was talking about the seriousness of another regular season game, one against the Rangers who have beaten the Flyers twice already this year, Bryzgalov was caddy-corner in the dressing room, talking about what kind of tea he’ll be drinking from a thermos on the bench.

“It’ll be Earl Gray probably. Lemon, lots of sugar. Sweet. I hope I have enough for the whole game,” said Bryzgalov. “It’s supposed to be colder [on Monday], so we’ll see. I’ll probably make sure I have enough towels. I always wear long underwear and I usually wear lingerie too… what have you guys gotten from this conversation? Basically nothing, right?

“People don’t care how I feel. They want a show. They want entertainment. You remember Rome right? Antique Rome, the Roman Empire? What did the people want? Gladiators and bread. That’s all they wanted. The crowd hasn’t changed. It’s still the same. It’s going to be the same in the future.”

While Bryzgalov has certainly stolen the show this year, Bobrovsky hasn’t regressed at all after playing 54 games his rookie year. It can be a tough thing to do to take a seat in the back after spending most of the year in the driver’s position.

“I haven’t seen any of that from him,” said Coburn. “This guy probably is the last guy to leave from the practice rink every day. I know, because I’m usually the second to last.

“This guy works his butt off every day. He’s always out there keeping himself in shape and you can see the mental preparation he does before games. He’s kind of a little bit on an opposite to Bryz. He’s easygoing and Bryz is a personality.”

Bobrovsky did, however, admit it’s been tough.

“It’s not up to me,” he said. “It’s not my choice and there’s no other way. In comparison to playing every game, it is more difficult to be as confident and as prepared because I never know when I’ll start. There’s no rhythm for the preparation.”

Everyone will likely be a little thrown off by playing outdoors in the Winter Classic on Monday, so he won’t be alone in his awkward feeling. But he’ll be in there. Calm and quiet, Sergei Bobrovsky will be between the pipes.