Jump to content

Is Philadelphia Giving Ilya Bryzgalov a Fair Chance?


Guest Digityman
 Share

Recommended Posts

From Ed Miller - a pretty good flyers blogger

You know the story of goaltending in Philadelphia. You have seen Ilya Bryzgalov’s media meltdowns. And you know his numbers this season – 16-9-3, with a 3.01 goals-against-average in 28 starts. There’s no question he hasn’t lived up to expectations as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers but is the city giving its $51 million offseason acquisition a fair chance to prove he can solidify the toughest job in the city?

It was only six months ago that Philadelphia Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren finally made an appeasing move to solidify the team’s goaltending, signing the 31-year-old Bryzgalov to a nine-year contract that made him the highest paid player at his position. After the signing, the Russia native said all of the right things in his transition from the small market of Phoenix to Philadelphia, a city that prides itself in a rich hockey history.

Ilya Bryzgalov has been a disappointment up until this point but is it reason to worry?

“I want to help this team win the Stanley Cup because people in Philadelphia and the organization have waited long enough,” he said at the time.

It seemed as though the position of goaltender was no longer a position to worry about but now – just over three months into the first year of his contract – the fans are already letting the goaltender know just what’s on their minds. One reason for the Bryzgalov bashing could be because of the revolving door of goaltenders that came before him who pretty much made the term free-pass extinct.

Maybe Philadelphia should change its motto from “the city of brotherly love” to “what have you done for me lately.”

There have been plenty of distractions for Bryzgalov between the Winter Classic and the HBO series 24/7 Flyers-Rangers: Road to the NHL Winter Classic. While he was loved for his “humongous big” rants on camera about the universe, his Siberian huskies and Russian alcohol, Bryzgalov’s play began to decline, leading to his benching for the Winter Classic – a game that was his to start since joining the Flyers.

In his last 10 starts, Bryzgalov has as many wins as losses and if you haven’t taken to your favorite social media website after a Flyers loss, fans are not pleased with their goaltender. No one has their hand on the panic button just yet but it is safe to say it’s beginning to get to that point. And after goaltenders like Roman Cechmanek, Robert Esche and Brian Boucher can you blame them?

Bryzgalov is a little bit of a different breed though. The guy was a runner-up for the Vezina trophy – awarded to the top NHL goaltender during the season – two years ago, putting up impressive numbers on a Coyotes team that didn’t have too much defensive talent in front of him. Too quick, people look for a scapegoat during a losing skid or a stretch of bad games and for the Flyers it almost always falls on the goaltenders shoulders.

But the defense has been as much to blame lately as Bryzgalov.

The Flyers defense has been built around two All-Star veterans – Kimmo Timonen and Chris Pronger – but when Pronger went down with a virus turned concussion, it put added pressure – and playing time – on the younger guys to step up their game. It’s not to say that they haven’t played well, in fact Andrej Meszaros is proving he can continue to play over 20 minutes a game on the top pairing but with all the inexperience on the other pairings there comes plenty of mistakes, the biggest of which seem to be turnovers. Traffic in front of the net is another cause for concern, as the Flyers have had a tough time clearing their opposition from the front of the net which has led to plenty of chances and has seemed to lead to an increase in garbage goals.

While it isn’t fair to expect Bryzgalov to make every save, the great goaltenders always make the big saves and although he has managed to do that with some frequency this season, there are 51 million other reasons to be disappointed in his play. Throughout history, the position of goaltender has always been a bit finicky and netminders are often out there mentally – Bryzgalov is no different. When he is good, there aren’t many better but when he is bad, it seems as though he could let a beach ball past him. No matter what the result he is always under a microscope.

With the playoffs about three months away, Bryzgalov has plenty of time to figure out what is hindering performance, whether it has something to do with his game or it is something mentally, as the pressure of a city hungry to hoist the cup builds. If he can get hot come spring Philadelphia might be poised to make a strong run the cup, either way hopefully he has learned he isn’t in Phoenix anymore and this year it’s a whole new animal!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

a nine-year contract that made him the highest paid player at his position

No, it didn't.

And after goaltenders like Roman Cechmanek...

Cechmanek's Flyers career

regular season:

00-01 35-15-6 2.01/.921

01-02 24-13-6 2.05/.921

02-03 33-15-10 1.83/.925

playoffs:

00-01 2-4 3.12/.891

01-02 1-3 1.85/.936

02-03 6-7 2.14/.909

Yeah, that was absolutely horrific. Can you imagine if they had a goalie putting up those numbers today??

...Robert Esche...

So, obviously, was Esche's 21-11-7-3 2.04/.915 regular season and 2.32/.916 playoff the next year.

My point being that this guy is saying "is Philadelphia too hard on Bryzgalov" and then parrots the conventional wisdom that Roman Cechmanek was the problem in a series against Ottawa in which the team scored TWO GOALS in FIVE GAMES and ACTUALLY WON ONE. If your goalie puts up a 1.85 GAA and you lose, it's not the goalie's fault.

But the defense has been as much to blame lately as Bryzgalov.

This is the real point, which was amplified in last night's Islanders' game. Turnovers, missed passes, bad coverage - all led to defensive breakdowns and either chances or goals. Goalies can make big save after big save, but consistent pressure and defensive lapses can defeat the best of them.

With the playoffs about three months away, Bryzgalov has plenty of time to figure out what is hindering performance, whether it has something to do with his game or it is something mentally, as the pressure of a city hungry to hoist the cup builds. If he can get hot come spring Philadelphia might be poised to make a strong run the cup, either way hopefully he has learned he isn’t in Phoenix anymore and this year it’s a whole new animal!

Phoenix sure ain't Philly when it comes to hockey - or just about anything else.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bad defense isn't the only cause of him being 67 out of 77 goalies in SV%. The defense is bad, but so is Bryz right now. A lot of it is on him-for whatever reason(s). He needs to get better-QUICK, or the drums will only beat louder in Philly. A weak goal a game is not going to endear him to fans..and right now, that's about what he's been giving up.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bad defense isn't the only cause of him being 67 out of 77 goalies in SV%. The defense is bad, but so is Bryz right now. A lot of it is on him-for whatever reason(s). He needs to get better-QUICK, or the drums will only beat louder in Philly. A weak goal a game is not going to endear him to fans..and right now, that's about what he's been giving up.

No, but bad defense makes the problems a goalie has worse.

Bobrovsky last night made some huge saves, but as the defense gave up opportunity after opportunity, there's only so much the goalie can do.

On top of that, he didn't stop a shorthanded breakaway and gave up a soft goal to make it 3-0. Today on this forum "it's not Bob's fault." If it had been Bryzgalov in net doing exactly the same thing, I think we'd hear a Much Different Story.

Bryzgalov needs to play better. No one argues that.

But so do the Flyers, and giving the skaters a free pass - as we do when blaming Cechmanek for not having a 0.00 GAA, for example - plays right into the posted analysis about Philadelphia fans never liking their #1 G.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

are we talking about the cross-slot one-timer from 20 feet?

I'm talking about Streit standing on the dot in the circle and firing one that Bob gets, but trickles through and into the goal. Pass goes from side boards opposite to top of the slot, then over to Streit.

Yes, it is a 4-on-3 and there is a lot of movement, but Bob is in position and set for the shot.

You can tell by Bob's reaction what he thought: head down, shoulders slumped.

He should have had it.

Everyone who got up and filed out of the stands after that seemed to agree. Building was half empty with 10 to play in the third.

Your mileage may vary, but I can guarandamntee you we would be hearing about a "crushing softie" if Bryzgalov let that happen in that situation.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm talking about Streit standing on the dot in the circle and firing one that Bob gets, but trickles through and into the goal. Pass goes from side boards opposite to top of the slot, then over to Streit.

Yes, it is a 4-on-3 and there is a lot of movement, but Bob is in position and set for the shot.

You can tell by Bob's reaction what he thought: head down, shoulders slumped.

He should have had it.

Everyone who got up and filed out of the stands after that seemed to agree. Building was half empty with 10 to play in the third.

Your mileage may vary, but I can guarandamntee you we would be hearing about a "crushing softie" if Bryzgalov let that happen in that situation.

"Your mileage may vary, but I can guarandamntee you we would be hearing about a "crushing softie" if Bryzgalov let that happen in that situation."

Thats when everyone places blame on the team in front of him. Bob for some reason is free of blame because he aint' earning 51 million (just 1.75 mill for a backup job). It ain't fair but thats how Flyer fans are, someone needs to be blamed and Bryz fits the whipping boy mentality.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure. The difference is, Bryz does that every single game. He gets paid not to. And Bob is supposed to be the work in progress, not Bryz.

Which is why I clearly state that Bryzgalov needs to play better:

Bryzgalov needs to play better. No one argues that.

You can continute to argue the point if you'd like :-)

You just *might* be making the very point of the posted analysis which prompted the thread, however...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Which is why I clearly state that Bryzgalov needs to play better:

You can continute to argue the point if you'd like :-)

You just *might* be making the very point of the posted analysis which prompted the thread, however...

I just think he needs to play more, looking back at his time in Phoenix Labarbra(sp) didn't play a whole lot Bryz got plenty of reps hasn't been to case here they are more concern with his rest than getting him paying better FIRST...which doesn't make sense.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Your mileage may vary, but I can guarandamntee you we would be hearing about a "crushing softie" if Bryzgalov let that happen in that situation.

there are people who don't know what they are talking about, sure. there are others, though, that know the fact that bob was able to get across and square on that shot at all was impressive, and the fact he was unable to actually track the one-time snapshot from 20 feet out does not make it a soft goal. on a cross-ice play from close range like that, the best a goalie can hope to do is get himself in front of the shot and hope it hits him. that it found a hole sucks, but it happens. bob's head was hung after it, because he knew he was *that* close to shutting it down, but it squeaked through.

please don't characterize everyone as mindless idiots. some of us are familiar with how the game works, and our observations are based on more than shifting winds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes, it is a 4-on-3 and there is a lot of movement, but Bob is in position and set for the shot.

You can tell by Bob's reaction what he thought: head down, shoulders slumped.

He should have had it.

sorry Rad, I know Aziz just covered this but...

You don't really believe that do you? He "should have had it"?

Bob has been working hard on his game. Obviously. His puck-handling and the way he's reading NHL shooters - it's light-years ahead of last year. He looked great last night and to call Streit's goal "soft" is seriously misguided. If I didn't know better I'd wonder if you were a newbie hockey fan, complaining how "easy" it should be for a goalie to move a lousy 6 feet. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can tell by Bob's reaction what he thought: head down, shoulders slumped.

He should have had it.

Bob often blames himself for goals that aren't his fault, unlike another prominent goaltender in Philly. Streit, who has a hard shot anyway, shot that puck on end. It was moving fast and fluttering so it climbed right over Bob. That wasn't a soft goal.

By the way, the article at the top of this thread is nauseating. Bryzgalov's stats don't lie. His play up until his last two starts was horrible. He's been mediocre in the last two, save for the truly soft goal he let in against the Wild.

Edited by terp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bottom line, your stats say you are one of the worst goalies in the season at this time.FACT. You are making 10 MILLION DOLLARS for 1 YEAR with 9 more years of stealing on the books.FACT. Now if you can continue the play trending towards the reason you were signed for that money, people will be a whole lot less upset......It is on Bryzgalov to live up to the contract he signed. Fans have 10 MILLION reasons to bitch and moan if,and this is a BIG IF, you continue to play like one of the worst goalies in the league......

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bottom line, your stats say you are one of the worst goalies in the season at this time.FACT. You are making 10 MILLION DOLLARS for 1 YEAR with 9 more years of stealing on the books.FACT. Now if you can continue the play trending towards the reason you were signed for that money, people will be a whole lot less upset......It is on Bryzgalov to live up to the contract he signed. Fans have 10 MILLION reasons to bitch and moan if,and this is a BIG IF, you continue to play like one of the worst goalies in the league......

Fans have every right to be upset. I'm upset.

But there's a whole lot of angst over the "contract Bryz signed" - well, I don't recall Bryz with a gun to the organization's head demanding the contract that they offered him. It was clear he/his agent felt he should be paid among the top goalies in the league. And the Flyers' brass agreed with that assessment.

To the extent that they essentially tied the team's entire future to this guy for a decade.

So, while we may look back over a range of goalies and debate the merits and faults of them over the years, the fact remains that it is still the same group of people who failed to get a serious goalie over that stretch that made this commitment to as "serious goalie" in Bryzgalov.

IMO, if you want to be upset with the goalie's play, blame the goalie. If you have "ten million" - or 51 million - reasons to be upset, blame the guys who signed him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Exactly, and I blame each.

Whats so funny with Bryz is the fact that he was talking about how big the universe is and how small we are compared to it and how we have such little problems.

We shouldn't stress and relax and enjoy it.

Then he comes out doesn't play well and he explodes and tries to slam and break his stick looking like a spoiled brat after he's been told he's got to share his toys with the other kids...does he realize he needs to heed his own advice and not get so upset about the little things!!!????

He wants everyone one else not to stress then everyone has to watch him not handle a bad play? Bryz actions speak louder than words...set an example if for no one else but your kids.

Like water off a ducks back right?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes! Flyers is giving Bryz a fair chance but he is not taking it.

This is why and read careful.

Some people doesnt notice the details. Here is one very clear detail:

Look at the penelty shot from Seguin. Bryz decides to fall forward and make saves at both way. So far, nothing wrong with that. But the dude makes a junior hockey mistake. And you see those mistakes all the time in all games. The mistake is that he doesnt have contact with the post. His skate must contact the post or the move is useless. I dont know why he is doing this? its just sad to watch.

Bryz is making good saves and sometimes huge briljant saves. But when you see those few simple junior hockey mistakes you just wonder WTF.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Flyers Knew they had a weak defence going into this season, they obtained Bryzgalov to bail out the weak defence, if you remember we also had a weak defence in front of Ron Hextall and he bailed them out Day after day. To a Cetain extent Bobrovsky has bailed the defence out. But for his 51 Million Dollars Bryzgalov has not. Take the 2 home games vs Boston for example. in December we were all appaled that Bryzgalov gave up 6 goals in a 6-0 defeat. Then Came January 22nd. I was in the Facebook Flyers Newsgroup at the time. People were posting how good Bryzgalov was doing in that game. My reply was "wait a minute, its only the second period." Now we know as an End result, Bryzgalov gave up 5 goals in regulation and then another 2 in the shootout. So technically, the december game was better. Its time our goalie maybe spends some time in Adirondack, and learns his position again.It worked for another goalie in the 1980s and it will work for him.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yes! Flyers is giving Bryz a fair chance but he is not taking it.

This is why and read careful.

Some people doesnt notice the details. Here is one very clear detail:

Look at the penelty shot from Seguin. Bryz decides to fall forward and make saves at both way. So far, nothing wrong with that. But the dude makes a junior hockey mistake. And you see those mistakes all the time in all games. The mistake is that he doesnt have contact with the post. His skate must contact the post or the move is useless. I dont know why he is doing this? its just sad to watch.

Bryz is making good saves and sometimes huge briljant saves. But when you see those few simple junior hockey mistakes you just wonder WTF.

Sorry, I have to disagree. There are very few junior goalies who don't have the brains to have their skate against the post, and I doubt any junior goalie has as slow reflexes as this stiff does.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...