With the Flyers season ended early and the players now coping with the thought of not playing, some are opening up to the media and talking about the past season. The first and arguably most interesting comments though, come from none other than goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. In an interview done with SovSports, Bryzgalov opened up and spoke his mind to the reporter.
When asked if the Flyers were a close team, Bryzgalov had this to say:
"We have an excellent team. All the guys are good, the management is great. But there is a lot of negativity surrounding the team. You did everything you could on the ice. You go to the locker room and someone yells some nonsense at your back. They're ready to eat you alive. It's unpleasant, because we are all people. You should understand that I am not speaking out against the fans. Philadelphia has great fans, they are the majority. They are always with the team in difficult times. Even after a mistake they say words of support. But who didn't make mistakes in this world?"
Later, when prompted about how goalies are treated in Philadelphia, he had this to offer:
"What I lived through this season I wouldn't wish to an enemy… [But if you started on something, finish it]. I need to keep working. I understand the fans. They paid their money and want the show. But many forget that we are not robots, but living people. We have feelings, worries. It's easy to turn away when the club is going through tough times. But if you're wearing orange sweaters, then support Philadelphia until the very end! Don't denounce your team. There won't be a different one. And I know that the Flyers have dedicated fans who understand hockey and will always support."
Bryzgalov won 33 games in his first full regular season with the Flyers. He finished with a 2.48 goals against average, .909 save percentage and six shutouts. He has eight years remaining on his $51 million contract.
It should never be an excuse for any player but it just seemed that Bryz had a hard time coping with Philadelphia. This city certainly can be intimidating for any player to arrive at because of how passionate the fans are. Surprisingly enough, we are not the only ones who noticed it.
Paul Holmgren was asked to share a few comments about Bryz's performance this year and had this to say:
“Did he play as good as expected this year? I would say, no … I said this before about players coming from different organizations and signing big money deals with new teams. This is an adjustment period.
“Kimmo [Timonen] went through it. Danny Briere went through it. There is a little bit of an adjustment period for Ilya from the position of a goaltender for the Flyers and coming from where he came. He handled it pretty good. He’s probably learned some things.”
He knows how tough it can be for these players to perform in this city and also knows the caliber of goaltender that he has. Holmer has faith that Bryz will do nothing but improve and bring us every closer to the glory of the cup.