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Flyers goalie Bryzgalov: 'I'm skinny and prepared'


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From Sam Carchidi ...

{Flyers goalie Bryzgalov: 'I'm skinny and prepared'

The start of the NHL season is threatened by a league-imposed lockout, meaning the Ilya Bryzgalov Revival will probably be put on hold.

Bryzgalov is trimmer, more comfortable with his surroundings, and eager to start his second season with the Flyers - and show more consistency than in his sometimes-tumultuous, sometimes-spectacular first year with the club.

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YONG KIM / Staff

Ilya Bryzgalov says he's now more at ease. "I understand the Philly fans right now. I know what to expect."

The 32-year-old goalie has been working out at the Skate Zone in Voorhees. He has lost about eight pounds from last season and is ready to play more like the netminder who was a Vezina runner-up in Phoenix.

"I did lots of training this summer," said a smiling Bryzgalov. "As you can see, I'm skinny and prepared."

But being in better shape may not mean much because representatives of the players and owners have not had formal negotiating talks since Aug. 31 - even though the collective-bargaining agreement expires Saturday.

If the season does get under way, Bryzgalov, with his first year with the Flyers behind him, feels more at ease with himself.

"To be honest, I don't analyze everything that happened last year," he said the other day. "I feel totally comfortable right now here. I understand the Philly media. I understand the Philly fans right now. I know what to expect from everybody in the locker room."

Will that help him when/if the season rolls around?

"I don't think there's any question," general manager Paul Holmgren said. "He left a [Phoenix] team he had settled into; he came here and didn't know a lot about the area and didn't know a lot about the team, and he was in a different conference. Now he has a year under his belt in a pressure-packed marketplace.

"He's a good goalie, and we expect him to be a lot better, and I'm sure he does himself," Holmgren added. "When I met with him at the end of the year, he knew he made some mistakes along the way. There are some things he needed to improve on and work on, and he's willing to put the time in."

Last season, Bryzgalov had a 2.48 goals-against average and .909 save percentage, and his poor playoff numbers (3.46 GAA, .887 save percentage) were somewhat skewed because of the defense-less series with the Penguins - and because of injuries to key Flyers defensemen.

The highlight of his season was a sensational March in which Bryzgalov put together the NHL's second-longest shutout streak (249 minutes, 43 seconds) since expansion in 1967-68.

"It's never easy coming to a new organization," coach Peter Laviolette said. "It's a tough position he plays, and knowing the team and the organization and the Eastern Conference and how to get to the rink and where he's going to live, you get to put that all behind you and move forward. I don't think he's alone in that scenario. . . . There was a lot of change last year and lot of new guys coming into a new situation. I would expect a lot of our players to feel more comfortable going into the year."

If there is a lockout, Bryzgalov is undecided whether he will play in Russia.

"I need some approval from all my family - my wife and my kids," he said. "It's not easy for me to be alone without my family in Russia, and if we decided to go together, I'd have to find a school for the kids and create the proper situation and environment for them to feel comfortable."

Breakaways. Chris Pronger is slated to be at the Flyers' training facility for some testing next week, but he will not skate, Holmgren said. The GM said Pronger, who missed most of last season with post-concussion syndrome, was still experiencing headaches. . . . Newly signed Ruslan Fedotenko reported to the Flyers' training facility in Voorhees on Monday to get a head start on workouts. If there's not a lockout, veterans will report to camp on Sept. 21. The baby-faced Fedotenko, 33, who is in his second stint with the Flyers, said he will play in Russia if there is a lockout. . . . More than 200 players are expected to attend a meeting in New York on Wednesday and show their union support; the NHL's board of governors will meet Thursday in New York.}

Well it sounds like he has his head screwed on straight. Skinny is better. Maybe his lateral movement will be better. If he can control rebounds it will be good I hope.

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I think he can go ahead and do it. Almost every player has an off year. I can understand your position but not all is lost with Bryz yet! If this year is like last year then yeah, I'm on your bandwagon. But we really have to brace our selves against OVER reacting to every little mistake this year. You know some people won't talk about the 15 saves but complain about the one he lets in, even if it's the d-men in front of him fault, the perfect screen or whatever. I don't care if he makes 51 million or 51 billion... he is still a flawed human and not perfect. The rational layed for his mind funk last season is sound having no other Philly experience to base his performance on.

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@idahophilly

I respect your optimism, and hope he plays a heck of a lot better than last year. But it's not just the bad bounces that worries me. If that's all it was I would consider it just one of those years. It's his movement from side to side which reminds me of someone docking the Queen Mary, his puckhandling which doesn't remind me of anyone who's ever played hockey before, and his glove hand that reminds me of a sea elephant throwing sand. Maybe a trimmer Bryz can have better lateral movement. but man he just looked s-o-o-o s-s-s-l-o-w-w out there.

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Maybe a trimmer Bryz can have better lateral movement. but man he just looked s-o-o-o s-s-s-l-o-w-w out there.

While bobs has deficiencies, at least he has enormous athleticism and quickness- to go along with a blue collar lunch-pail work ethic.

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[HF, Rad et al - this isn't a challenge or a rebuttal to you or your optimism. I like it. I wish I shared it.]

So it took him a year to settle in and get comfortable, that's the basis for the optimism? Or is it, "he's not so bad he just needs some better Team D and a few breaks"?

Either way is hard to believe. Bryzgalov is not mobile or quick, he can't handle the puck for sh-t and he has major lapses in effort and concentration. Without a Niedermeyer or a Pronger around, running the defense and kicking his ass for stupid mistakes... without a '06/'07 Ducks' D and shutdown lines...without a Dave Tippett D-first style (sort of) ...

...and with a Laviolette Attack-First-Scramble-Back-Later approach ... minus Mez minus Carle...we really have only 3 maybe 4 if you include Schenn, we have just a few effective and experienced horses on D now and 1 real "shutdown" center (who's all of 20 years old - thank god he plays like he's 27) ... the intensity around Bryzgalov's net is going to increase this season not decrease. He'll be asked to stop more open-look shots this year not less. For him to earn his money and salvage his reputation he's going to have to be outstanding. He'll have to be the obvious #1 star a lot of nights. One thing is certain, he's going to get every opportunity.

If Pronger was still a force on and off the ice maybe. But without him or someone else Bryzgalov is afraid of - I don't see much changing in Bryzgalov's game.

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@Polaris922 Is that not amazing??? You sign a 50 mill+ deal, and don't show up to town in tip top 100% shape?? Really, what kind of a professional is that....only after he gets dogged by fans and media and blown out of the water in the playoffs does he "get skinny"....WTF!?!?!?!?! I falut Snider for not having his scouts look into him properly (or ignoring their advice)....AND not having a phych evaluation before you sign a guy to a 10 year deal...how about some feedback from others (teammates, coachs...etc)...I'm sure this is not the first time he was not in top physical condition....wow...this blows me away!!

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@Polaris922 Is that not amazing??? You sign a 50 mill+ deal, and don't show up to town in tip top 100% shape?? Really, what kind of a professional is that....only after he gets dogged by fans and media and blown out of the water in the playoffs does he "get skinny"....WTF!?!?!?!?! I falut Snider for not having his scouts look into him properly (or ignoring their advice)....AND not having a phych evaluation before you sign a guy to a 10 year deal...how about some feedback from others (teammates, coachs...etc)...I'm sure this is not the first time he was not in top physical condition....wow...this blows me away!!

and he didn't play Junior!

:ph34r:

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Season in doubt and a Bryz hate thread going strong already?

This was a positive article, way to Debbie down ****.

I posted it because I thought it was a positive attitude. It really comes down to whether you are a glass half full or half empty kinda person. Besides, and I've said it before, his english isn't real great and words he chooses to use and how he phrases his thoughts are mis-interpreted by Americans. Something is lost (and not in the woods) in the translation from his head to his words to how we take it. He was being positive saying he was in shape and ready to go. Had nothing to do with him saying "I was fat, lazy and to busy writing my thesis on astronomy to pay attention to hockey last year".

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I posted it because I thought it was a positive attitude. It really comes down to whether you are a glass half full or half empty kinda person. Besides, and I've said it before, his english isn't real great and words he chooses to use and how he phrases his thoughts are mis-interpreted by Americans. Something is lost (and not in the woods) in the translation from his head to his words to how we take it. He was being positive saying he was in shape and ready to go. Had nothing to do with him saying "I was fat, lazy and to busy writing my thesis on astronomy to pay attention to hockey last year".

I hear ya Idaho, and I recognize this is positive - no criticism of you posting it, I like the article. I was being a smartass towards the Bryz haters who hijacked the thread with their never ending hate/anger towrds the dude. Part of it is also that I've been away from the forum for a while and my first time checking back in today I see more of the same negtivity that dominated the conversation most of last season - even when he played really well the entire second half of the season.

I really like the guy and think he'll play great if these owners would just get their **** together and get the season back on track.

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