Goalies have gotten huge - but will shrinking them 'fix' scoring? Courtesy Ottawa Sun.

Crashing the Crease: Will Smaller Pads Really “Fix” NHL Scoring?

With the league’s 30 General Managers meeting to discuss ways to tweak the NHL product, the issue of goal scoring totals has once again reared its head. Since the resumption of play from the cancelled 2004-05 season, scoring has slipped from 6.05 goals per game to 5.25 goals per game. Whether or not that is really a problem that needs fixing is an argument for another column, but the fixes being discussed are rather relevant to goalies. What is the solution? Well, according to some – including Mike Babcock — the answer is a simple ultimatum: bigger nets, or smaller …

Ilya Bryzgalov lays face down on the ice after making a save against the Boston Bruins during the game on March 9, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts - Image Courtesy of Jared Wickerham/Getty Images North America

Crashing the Crease: Ilya Bryzgalov Cannot Succeed in Philadelphia

This week’s Crashing the Crease comes to you with a somber tone, as the Flyers’ season appears primed to crash and burn. Some of the same wretched storylines we’re so used to being beaten over the head with are creeping into view: “Should [insert Flyers coach] be worried about his job? Who should the Flyers next goalie be? What major move will the Flyers make to fix this?” Part of the issue, in my mind, is this overly reactive approach from the top down. Don’t get me wrong — I love and respect what Ed Snider did for the city …

Bryzgalov's had some difficulties in pulling off the poke check in the past.

Crashing the Crease: Bryz and the Art of the Poke Check

Tuesday night’s game at Madison Square Garden was quite possibly the single most glaring example of one of Bryzgalov’s greatest shortcomings: he is not particularly good at the poke check. Playing the poke check correctly is the epitome of a very fine line for any goaltender. A successful poke requires quick and decisive action: there is no time to spare in deciding to go for the poke, but at the same time it can’t be done too early – or “telegraphed” – lest the forward read it and simply walk around it. Against the Rangers, Bryzgalov’s poke attempts were telegraphed, …

BryzSkyward

Crashing the Crease: Bryzgalov Wearing Down?

How much can one reasonably expect from a goaltender when playing him almost nightly behind a worn down, somewhat-ramshackle NHL defense? If you live in Philadelphia, the answer may be to simply look at his cap hit for your answer. Recently, there’s been a lot of talk regarding Ilya Bryzgalov and how well he “should” be playing based on his AAV of $5.67 million. In a lot of ways, it’s a reliable fallback story for a season full of nearly regular Jekyll-and-Hyde nights where serious hockey analysis of defensive breakdowns and failed offensive forays will bore and confuse the average …

Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers stops a shot by Chad LaRose #59 of the Carolina Hurricanes on February 2, 2013 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Philadelphia Flyers defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-3. Image courtesy of Elsa/Getty Images North America.

Crashing the Crease: Has Bryzgalov Really Been Better This Season?

As we sit here in the midst of two days without Flyers hockey, let us take pause to reminisce about the old NHL: The forgotten, hazy days of yesteryear, in which teams had more than 21 hours between games, players skated on sharpened butter knives and, in one small corner of the league, an eccentric Russian goalie named Ilya Bryzgalov hitchhiked from Phoenix to Philadelphia and found a new providence, playing hockey for our boys in orange and black. This was a hopeful and optimistic time, one in which that entire City of Brotherly Love ever so quietly gazed with …

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