Kukla's Korner Hockey
by George Malik on 08/01/13 at 12:19 AM ET
This isn't exactly late-breaking news, but if you missed it, Expressen's Jonatan Lindquist reported that Ilya Bryzgalov's going to be working out with Farjestads BK (located in Karlstad, Sweden) during their training camp [edit/update: Varmlands Folkblad's Johan Eriksson reports that Bryzgalov will spend one week in Karlstad], but at present, it apepars like nothing more than Bryzgalov simply finding a professional team to train with as he prepares for the upcoming season and attempting to find NHL employment.
Most of the KHL's teams are areadly beginning preseason play today, so it's unlikely that Bryzgalov is heading to the KHL at this point (the Admiral Vladivostok are holding the door open for him, but haven't made him a contract offer, per Dmitry Chesnokov)...
And as SI's Allan Muir notes, Bryzgalov apparently got in touch with FBK's goalie coach, Erik Granqvist, and had some chats with Granqvist over Skype to explain his interest in working with FBK. As Muir notes, Farjestads has a full complement of goalies, so it's unlikely that he'll do anything more than take part in a pre-season game or two given that the SHL, like most European hockey leagues, engages in a full month's worth of preseason hockey:
Granqvist, who spent six years between the pipes with Lulea of the Swedish league, was the goalie coach with Farjestad for several years before being promoted to assistant coach in 2010. He counts Jonas Gustavsson, Cristopher Nihlstorp and Alexander Salak among his proteges. While that list might not be as star-studded as other coaches might be able to boast, Granqvist is revered for his ability to keep a goalie focused and keep his stress levels down.
Farjestad has two goalies under contract for next season — Swede Fredrik Pettersson Wentzel and Canadian Danny Taylor, who spent some time in Calgary last season — so it’s unlikely Bryzgalov would end up there, but the chance to make himself known in Sweden could pay off. There’s no interest in his services in the NHL, and there doesn’t appear to be much demand in the KHL, either. Expanding the field of possible employers makes perfect sense.
It’ll be interesting to see if Granqvist can get him back in the game mentally and maybe find a way to make it more enjoyable for him. He shouldn’t be as bad as he looked last season in Philly, so it might take a new voice in his ear to get him back on track.
From what I've read in the Russian press, Bryzgalov's done an absolutely excellent job of tapdancing around the question as to whether the contract offers he's received--as Chesnokov duly noted--were from NHL teams, KHL teams or employers located elsewhere, and again, in Europe, the preseason = most teams' rosters are set, so it's highly unlikely that he's interested in doing anything less than pursuing NHL employment, even if that means waiting until October to find a team to latch on with.
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