I was excited when I heard that Ilya Bryzgalov was going to be a Flyer. There was an immediate desire not to be pleased with the trading of Mike Richards to the Kings (supposedly to get the money) nor when I found out about the HUMANGOUS (had to) contract that the Flyers offered Bryzgalov to come. However, I liked the Phoenix goalie because I’d been following the Coyotes off and on since I started watching hockey. He got them into the playoffs in 2010 as far as I was concerned.
And then the first half (3/4th’s?) of the season happened. It was hard to stay positive when I would tense every moment the opponent came into our zone when Bryz was in net. The one game I saw live (Nashville), Bryz was in net and I already assumed Flyers would lose based on that. I never hated Bryz, just the way he played for most of this season.
How awesome has it been these last several games? The defense has been good and Bryz has been awesome. Seeing the puck like he has x-ray vision (although does that mean he’d see through the puck too?), glove saves and stick saves (even without his own stick), it’s been glorious. In interviews, Bryz has been confident and driving the Philly media nuts with not giving them any juicy quotes and just praising the team. Thrilling, truly.
He just set the Flyers franchise record for amount of time with no goals allowed. And although the streak ended last night, Bryzgalov beat his own record of 249:15 back in Anaheim with 249:43 for the Flyers. There will be naysayers following the fact that he let in two quick goals, or that the Flyers defense went quite shaky during those few minutes. The Philly media and some of the fans make the doom and gloom of some teachers I know look quite sunshiney. And I’m not sure Bryz will ever make enough saves to seem worth $51 million for nine years.
But, it’s a beautiful thing when you get to see awesome-ness as it happens. Keep it up, boys.
Sidenote: Special edition of The Hockey News came in last week with the fifty top players chosen by the players (however that works). Claude Giroux was third and Jaromir Jagr was number eighteen. Not bad showing for the season that was supposed to be Flyers’ rebuilding year.