Kukla's Korner Hockey
by lsefton on 09/06/11 at 04:13 PM ET
It’s day 14 in the “is Marty Turco going to get a new gig” saga, but that’s not what we’re here to talk about today.
Iliya Bryzgalov has let the Flyers know he wants the Stanley Cup:
“This is a team with rich history,” Bryzgalov said. “The highest goal is to win the Cup. That’s what this game is all about. That’s all that matters.”
I’ll give them points for being optimistic and having a lot of confidence in his own abilities, but at the same time is also setting himself up for a lot of heartbreak. And Phily fans? Bryzgalov is going to give you lots and lots more quotes during the season. He can be quite the chatty fellow when motivated.
I’m sure if it was up to Bryzgalov that there probably wouldn’t be any problem with coming aboard with his new team. Insofar as talent, Bryzgalov has the ability to consistently give you a 2.5 GAA and a +.9 save percentage. If a team can’t build their gameplan around that, it’s not the goalie’s fault. His style of play should mesh well with Flyers, and he has the ability to dominate a number o teams in the East. When the Phoenix coyotes picked him up off of waivers, Bryzgalov became a deciding factors on the ability of the Coyotes to make the Stanley Cup playoffs.
However, one of the aspects of getting a new goaltender that tends to be overlooked is how quickly can the rest of the team get used to playing in front of that new goaltender. A team that’s used to a goaltender who directed traffic and wanted to keep defensemen blocking shots to a minimum is going to have a struggle with a goalie who isn’t in constant communication, or who really wants those defensemen to block and recover shots. It can take a good chunk of the new season for everything to settle in.
Anybody who followed the Flyers in the 90’s noticed that the the Flyers went through Goalies the way that some people go through a jar of mixed nuts. It seemed as if the goaltenders were taking most of the heat and most of the blame for any time that the Flyers didn’t get beyond the 1st or 2nd round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. And, of course, if every time that there was a new goaltender brought in, the team had to adjust their playing around the goaltender, a few games that might have been won were lost.. This can make the difference for a team in the standings, and that can affect a number of the small ephemerals in the playoffs—who they play, and whether they get home ice advantage.
So what does this mean to Bryzgalov? If the Flyers chose well, and with some luck, it means that the Flyers have a compatible style with his goaltending, and there isn’t going to be much in the way of adjustments. If there’s going to be adjustments you’re probably going to see them really show up at the beginning of the season which presents another problem—he’s playing in Philadelphia. the Philadelphia press and the Philadelphia fans aren’t going to give him any sort of slack once the season is begun, especially given the promises made before the training camp has even started. and especially with the number of goaltenders that they have in reserve, including Leighton and Bobrovsky. Bobrovsky is likely to be the sticking point, as he’s really young, and he’s shown the ability to shut other teams down. If Bryzgalow starts to falter, not only will there be complaints in the stands, there’s going to be a lot of demands of "where is Bobrovsky?"
And that would seriously not be the time for Bryzgalow to get chatty with the press….
And if that starts happening, that nine-year contract they’ve got Bryzgalov signed up to is going to look very very long. Trying to find somebody who will take the contract on, including the salary cap hit, will be difficult.
It’s going to be an interesting October for both Bryzgalov and the Flyers.
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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