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Blame it all on Bryzgalov?

Amidst discussion of Jaromir Jagr’s future and the Flyers’ baffling team-wide performances against the New Jersey Devils, much of the criticism regarding the Flyers’ individual shortcomings involves pointed and harsh criticism of Ilya Bryzgalov’s play (though the Devils are earning full marks for taking out Philly as well).

Given so many suggestions over the last 12 or so hours that “BryzgLOLov’s” giveaway goal to David Clarkson was emblematic of his status as the sole reason why the Flyers lost (though Claude Giroux’s suspension may have fared into the equation, too), however, TSN’s Bob McKenzie offers some much-needed perspective regarding Mr. Universe given that the moons, planets and stars around him didn’t deliver, either:

You can’t lay singular blame on Ilya Bryzgalov for Philadelphia’s loss to the New Jersey Devils, but by the same token, he was brought in to be the answer in net for the Flyers, and he was anything but.

In the clinching game, all three Devils’ goals against Bryzgalov weren’t great. The first one was a flutter ball, the second one was an absolute gift, and the third one, he may have been screened a little bit. At the end of the day, he didn’t get the job done.

You don’t want to equate everything to money but this is a guy who actually pulled down $15 million in signing bonus and salary this year. His cap hit is only $5.67 million for the Flyers but he’s got a nine-year deal at $51 million, or if you take away the somewhat bogus years at the end, a seven-year deal for $47.5 million.

The Flyers had to know when they got him that he didn’t have a playoff track record. He’d never won a playoff series before this year. He got through the first round series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but it was almost in spite of himself along with the fact Marc-Andre Fleury didn’t play very well.

He’s now played 22 career playoff games and in 14 of those, he’s had a sub-.900 save percentage. That’s not nearly good enough. Good luck with that contract and good luck with Bryzgalov, Philadelphia because there is no playoff track record there.

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Wings_in_NYC's avatar

I brought up Bryz earlier this week and some Flyers fan said he was their best player. I guess that’s why they lost. He certainly stunk it up in this game. Will the Flyers EVER get better in net?

Posted by Wings_in_NYC on 05/09/12 at 10:25 AM ET


couldn’t happen to a better team.  Philly has been cheating the cap with these mega deals for a while and broke free of them, only to go to the same thing.  No one will trade for that contract, unless an equally bad one is coming back.

Giroux showed his true colors in this series.  He is a whining, cheap shot artist.

Posted by tbassett on 05/09/12 at 10:30 AM ET


Is it any surprise, after the first round. The Flyers only won that round, because Fleury was worse than Bryz. He was a sieve and you can’t win with a sieve.

Posted by timbits on 05/09/12 at 10:33 AM ET

phillyd's avatar

I was one of those fans, and when you looked at the team in this series, he was. Statistically, the Devils outdid everything to the Flyers by a large margin yet there were 2 OT games and a 1-goal game with an empty netter in the closing seconds. The simple thing to do would be to point at Bryz and say he’s the reason they lost but I’m not going to do that. He showed me enough in March that he can be a lock-down goalie and had flashes of it in the playoffs, just not enough. He could’ve been lights out this series, but the reality is, the way the Devils played, he almost needed to pitch shutouts for the Flyers to advance. I’m going to point to Laviolette’s inability to adjust to the Devils’ forecheck game and the Flyers being way too overconfident after taking out the Penguins. To me, those two things are what cost the Flyers this series, not Bryz’s play.

Posted by phillyd from Southern New Jersey on 05/09/12 at 10:36 AM ET


I didn’t like the Bryzgalov signing in June and I don’t like it now, but thoae blaming the loss to the Devils on Bryzgalov don’t have a clue.

Bryz was the Flyers best player in each of games 2, 3 & 4.

Not a single Flyers forward had a good series, and most were terrible.  They couldn’t generate any zone time on New Jersey, and put pressure on an extremely shaky Brodeur.

The Flyers wingers couldn’t get pucks out of the defensive zone against pinching Devils defenseman.  This lead to increased offensive zone time for New Jersey, which ended up completely wearing down the Flyers group of defenseman.

I don’t love Bryz, but he took way too much (all) the heat for this team all season long.

Bryz was slightly below average in Oct/Nov.  He was dreadful for about 10 weeks from early December through mid-February.  He wasthe best player in the NHL from late Feb until he fractured his tibia in late March.

After the injury he never regained his lateral mobility, and was mediocre in the playoffs.

Posted by John on 05/09/12 at 10:39 AM ET

Nathan's avatar

The Devils beat ‘em in many phases, so this isn’t to discredit their victory. But Bryz was truly nothing short of terrible all playoff long. The only thing that saved him in the first round was that MAF was actually, somehow, someway, far worse than terrible, and the Flyers were incredibly effective at getting under the skin of all of the star players on the Pens.

Sean Burke is looking like a genius, and I’d be surprised if there aren’t teams, quietly and behind the scenes, of course, falling over each other trying to steal Burke away from Phoenix. Though I have to think they will kindly reject any requests to speak with Burke, assuming he is under a contract with the Coyotes still.

Posted by Nathan from the scoresheet! on 05/09/12 at 10:45 AM ET


Karma always always shows up at some point.  I am just waiting until it finds Rinaldo.  He is the most reckless player in the NHL.

Posted by gretzky_to_lemieux on 05/09/12 at 11:12 AM ET


Did Rinaldo throw a single hit last night that wasn’t late? The Flyers seemed hell bent on delivering the big hit even after the puck had moved on. The Devils, made the hit when the puck was in play and hit with the intended purpose - to seperate a player from the puck.

Big hits get the team and crowd going, but if it consistently puts you out of the play what is the point? The Devils had puck pressure, the Flyers banged people off the glass once the puck was behind them.

Posted by hockey1919 from mid-atlantic on 05/09/12 at 11:42 AM ET

Primis's avatar

It’s always the goalie in Philly, has been for decades now.

They haven’t really considered how many they’ve burned through…

Posted by Primis on 05/09/12 at 11:51 AM ET

Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit's avatar

To make matters worse the rabid Flyer’s fans made their way to the Team bus just as the players were boarding. They grabbed Bryz and held onto to him.

As the bus departed, they pushed Bryz right into the path of the oncoming bus….....................It went right between his legs.(An oldie but goody)

Lets Go Red Wings!!!!! in ‘13

Posted by Kate from PA now in SC-made in Detroit on 05/09/12 at 12:24 PM ET

hockeychic's avatar

Well Bryz can give up soft goals but it isn’t his fault the Flyers offense went cold.  It was a bad line change by the Flyers in game 3 (I think) that resulted in the game winning goal, hard to fault him there.

I don’t know what it is about the Flyers but they always seem to have problems in net, no matter who they bring in.

Posted by hockeychic from Denver, CO on 05/09/12 at 12:27 PM ET


No matter the question, Bryz is not the answer.  Top price goalies are paid to steal a game here or there (i.e Quick, Lundqvist, Holtby and Smith who have all done it at least a couple times each this playoffs when their teams were completely outplayed) and give their team confidence in the “last line of defense”.  Bryz did neither.  Sure he kept them in a couple games but did not steal a win for them.  In fact his recklessness with handling the puck and his perchance for falling asleep at the wheel resulting in a soft goal probably caused more issues for Philly’s D than anything else.

However with his contract size and length (and playoff history) he is going nowhere for a while.  Flyers need to provide him with a puck Harding coach and sports physiatrist this summer.  You never know, maybe they will see more that one month of brilliance next year?

Posted by Mark from Canada on 05/09/12 at 06:27 PM ET

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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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