As the playoffs continue to slip through their fingers, and
speculation swirls around the future of Ilya Bryzgalov, I suppose it’s only
natural for the witch hunt to intensify.
Sure enough a report has emerged that the Flyers’ goaltender
was benched for their game against the Islanders, and not because he was due
for a break after making 22 consecutive starts, not even because the team
wanted to get a look at Steve Mason. Allegedly it was because Bryz was caught
snoozing during a meeting.
The report originated on 97.5 The Fanatic, but several of
Bryzgalov’s teammates swiftly and adamantly refuted the story while meeting
with the media on Wednesday, including Mike Knuble who described the rumor as “asinine.”
Head coach Peter Laviolette denied as well.
The news comes amid a period in the season when everybody is
still trying to attach the specific significance to Mason’s arrival. There is
widespread belief it was a sign that a buyout could be coming for Bryz in the
offseason, while some believe Mason getting the call against the Islanders on
Tuesday was the newcomer’s big audition.
Bryzgalov spoke to reporters prior to last night’s loss about
the possibility the Flyers would seek amnesty on the rest of his nine-year, $51
million contract, but did not come off as hostile. He suggested that it’s not
necessarily what he wants, but those decisions are out of his control according
to Randy Miller’s story for the Courier-Post.
“You know, I have no control in
this,” he said. “I can’t read the people’s mind. I can’t project things what
they’re thinking, that’s why I’m not worried about things I can’t control. I
maybe want one thing and they want a different thing.”
Miller’s story is worth a read, as Bryz also touches on his
awful statistics, how his body is holding up after playing so many
games in a row, and even specifically the arrival of Mason. From what I
gathered reading it, Bryzgalov seems like a man determined to stand above the
fray, although it obviously hasn’t prevented some people from trying to drag
>> Kimmo: Bryz (BryZZZZ?) was not sleeping [Broad St. Bull]
>> Bryzgalov on potential buyout: 'To be honest, I don't care' [Courier-Post]
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