I know Bryzgalov isn’t losing games by himself, but who else on the Flyers has been as big a disappointment this season? JVR? Somehow blaming JVR doesn’t make as much sense. Maybe that’s because even though JVR isn’t scoring, others are, so it doesn’t stand out as much.
On the other hand, youngsters and old guys and familiar faces who were not expected to break any records are doing a whole big bunch better than any expected. They could really use a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious goalie to make their team whole.
I’m not mad. I wanted the Flyers to go after Vokoun on the high money end, or Nabby as a bargain. I knew Bryz couldn’t be as good as he needed to be to justify the sound and fury of that humangus big contract that he got without ever testing free agency. His agent did his job, Holmgren didn’t. Snider sure as hell didn’t do any homework if he really believed that paying a goalie a shitload of money would guarantee anything at all.
I could say I told you so but even in my skepticism I never imagined Bryzgalov would flop this badly. Yes, yes, he’s had slumps before, he was always allowed to play through them, he was always the go-to guy in Phoenix. Being Number One in Philly is such a big change you can’t expect… What? You can’t expect him to be a professional and bring his best game every night? You can’t expect him to outplay 95% of the goalies in the NHL?
Wow, I would think you could expect that, I mean if he was worth that kind of attention and consideration in the first place.
There was never any indication that he was. That isn’t water under the bridge, but it isn’t Bryzgalov’s fault either. Still, fans can and will be cranky about it, the same way you would expect them to applaud him for being awesome, again and again, relentlessly cheering. If you expect that, you can expect endless boos too.
Right now, he is 15th in wins with 16. Right behind him, of goalies who have played as many games (29), are: Jose Theodore (15w) and Corey Crawford (15w). Ahead of him is Henrik Lundquist. Well heck, if only King Henrik is ahead of him, that doesn’t sound so bad! For some reason it seems significant to me that Brian Elliott has only played 21 games, yet has 15 wins.
But you can’t blame or credit the goalie for wins. It’s a team sport.
What about save percentage? That’s unreliable too because it doesn’t take into consideration shot quality. But it’s something. Among goalies who have played 28-31 games, he is last in this area. That is not impressive. In the same field, the range of wins is from 18 to 11. Bryz has 16, well above average. Hm. Again, wins are a team thing. He has the same number of wins as Mike Smith, but Smith has played 31 games. Well, obviously the Coyotes are just a better team, because we all know their goalie is not elite level awesome.
None of that is a surprise. Bryzgalov’s numbers stink big time. I don’t remember him being this bad in Phoenix. I don’t remember him being so good as to justify beggaring yourself to get him either, but clearly the change of scenery has not helped his game. Maybe the goalie coaching doesn’t suit him. What worked for Michael Leighton might not work for Ilya Bryzgalov. Canadian Taurus v Russian Cancer, nothing alike. Bryzgalov is actually on the cusp, he’s almost a Gemini. That could mean there’s an opposing twin goalie in there, waiting to emerge. We can hope.
If the Flyers manage by hook or by crook, with help from all their saints and merciful spirits to get into the playoffs without losing half their scoring leaders, will Bryzgalov finally carry them as advertised? I don’t know. The Coyotes are not doing nearly so badly as they were expected to do without him. He might, he might have a completely different game for playoffs.
In the mean time, the Flyers need to be the team they used to be, the team that for a very long time did NOT rely on a goalie to carry them, no matter what he got paid. This is a challenge since they are not the team they used to be, before they got this big fancy goalie.
But really, why would fans blame Bryzgalov for today’s loss against the Sens? I don’t know if they blame him for this one in particular. This is just one more straw. They have not forgotten the really bad games, of which there have been too many by the standards applied to elite, break-the-bank goalies in the NHL. Fans are fickle that way. Just season before last, Tim Thomas was an albatross, a contract people laughed at. He was injured, but that didn’t matter so much. What mattered was he had a big contract and was not living up to it. He was old, of course he was injured. What ninny would have given him such a contract? Hah hah hah… Hah. The joke’s on you, non-Bruins fans.
Bryzgalov probably isn’t injured. He’s just the mercurial personality he always was, and that personality is not isolated from his game. Would being benched like a regular guy help? Probably not, but it might. The team could go with Bob just to avoid the seepage of bad juju from Bryzgalov’s crease into the rest of the team. The Flyers will have Bryzgalov for a long long time. Next season, maybe next season he will be what they thought they were getting. Look at Carey Price. People thought he was a bust too. He turned out okay.
Whether a loss is his fault or not, from here on out, Bryzgalov will get more heat with each one. He’ll get even more for games that have 4 or more goals against, no matter his guilt. You get what you pay for, or you get mad. Really mad.