Let the hysteria begin.
The Flyers told members of the local media today that goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov won’t be available to the media nearly as much as he has been. The team says that Bryzgalov will not be available the day of or the day before a game, which is an apparent move to help the struggling goalie focus solely on his game.
Naturally, several members of the media took to Twitter and other outlets to take shots at the Flyers for the move. Bryzgalov has been open and honest with the media since his arrival in Philly, but it’s time for him to focus on playing better and keeping the puck out of the net.
The Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association has filed a complaint against the Flyers for the gag order.
I don’t completely disagree with the decision that the Flyers made in this case, although some may take it the wrong way. This “vow of silence,” if you will, isn’t necessary making the media the scapegoat for the early season struggles in net for Bryz, but instead marking it as a possible distraction.
Bryzgalov is a quote machine; the media’s dream. He is funny, honest, and gives a writer or reporter more than enough material to fill a word count quota or time slot. His relationship with the Philadelphia media has been great so far, so comparing this situation to what supposedly happened between several former Flyers isn’t necessarily warranted.
The team wants their franchise goalie to focus on play, even though talking to members of one of the nation’s largest media markets shouldn’t really take away from his play on the ice. However, after his comments following the team’s 9-8 loss to Winnipeg, the Flyers looked at the situation and obviously felt that they needed to reevaluate their star goalie’s relationship with the media.
After the game, Bryzgalov said he felt “lost in the woods,” and that he had zero confidence in himself. Many took his comments and ran with them, and talk of his contract being a mistake and other over-the-top assumptions soon followed.
Bryzgalov is 4-4-1 on the season with a below average 3.16 goals against average and .880 save percentage.
You can find Buzz on Broad Flyers beat writer C.J. Burns on Twitter @CJBurns215