Oh My God, Our $51 Million Goaltender is Lost in the Woods

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Somebody find him!!!

The last time I went to a regular season game with the man behind Philly Phaithful, Dan, the Flyers lost to the Lightning, 8-7. That was almost a year ago, and the game turned out to be one of the more memorable (or forgettable) of last season. So imagine my horror when, again, I plopped my ass into the PP seats, only to see the Flyers defense disappear. Again. And this time, the goalie, our $51 million Russian who came in as a backup after his compatriot understudy gave up five goals, pulled a freakout. It happened exactly when Mark Stuart scored the Jets' eighth goal— Bryz slammed his stick (twice) and motioned something at the bench. It was his Jessie Spano moment. He's so excited. He's so… scared.

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Here’s what I wrote about Bryz on Sunday morning:

Telling it like it is something Bryz has done his whole career. When things go well, he credits teammates. When they don’t… well, he let’s them know it. And when it's his fault? He takes the blame.

But he's always blunt.

 

I hate to play the I’m right card (I don’t, really), but… you know.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Bryz went a little bat-shit nutty after the game:

The full transcript is after the jump. Here are a few, um, highlights:

Q: Was there ever a point where you were confident in this game?

"I have zero confidence in myself right now. (Unintelligible) I am terrible. I will now apologize in front of the fans, in front of my teammates. I don't know what's going on. I have no answer for you guys. I thought in the last game against Montreal, that nothing worse was going to happen. Today was worse."

Q: Is it a matter of simply just working things out?

"I don't know. I don't know. I can't tell anything right now. I am lost in the woods right now."

 

When the post-game transcript, provided by the organization, includes “unintelligible” as a placeholder, you know things are bad. You also know things are bad when your goaltender – playing perhaps the most confidence-based position in all of sports – says he doesn’t believe in himself and makes some ridiculous analogy about being lost in a forested area.

Bryz is known for his candor and quirkiness, and just three weeks into his nine-year, franchise-shaping, $51 million contract, he’s already bottomed out in front of the tough Philly media. 

Just a few days ago, he jokingly complained about hearing the same questions repeatedly, indicating that writers are only going to give a guy a pass if they like him, anyway. Audio here.

They go and do same thing: practice, game, practice, game, sleep, game, practice. You write. You ask questions, sit at a computer, and write it. And it depends, you bring your feelings, your judgement: no I don’t like this guy, I’m going hard at him. Oh I maybe like him, maybe I’m not going to go that hard at him.

 

Even though he was joking, there was a little bit of Mike Richards in that statement.

This has to work. There is no Plan B if Bryz is a bust. It’s wayyy early, and there’s certainly a lot more evidence that he’ll be just fine – stellar – for the Flyers, but all we can do right now is react. And it’s hard not to wonder, what if? What if he’s a glass case of emotion and can’t hack it here?

What if?

I scared.

Some of you are, too. 

Here are a few Tweets I received after the game, about both the defense and the goalie:

They ARE playing NHL 94. And they suck at it.

I think the only solution is to promote Jim McCrossin to head coach and fire Peter, that and start playing the Wide 9.

is Juan Castillo coaching the flyers defense too?

is Bryz gonna jump off the Ben along with the Phanatic? wow

Bustgalov

somewhere carter and @MRichie18 are laughing their ass off #goalieproblems

 

Oh the horror.

Two items of note: When the Flyers were trailing in the final minute, after what I believe was an icing call (not 100% sure because I temporarily blacked out from shock), both Danny Briere and Claude Girox appeared to intentionally break their sticks so they could skate over to the bench, slowly, and give their teammates a brief rest. Not sure if it was shown on TV, but it was a brilliant veteran move.

It also can't be overlooked that the Flyers battled back from an incredible deficit. Had they won that game, we'd be talking about how great they are.

 

Full Bryz transcript and your highlights are after the jump. 

Flyers Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov 

 

Q: It doesn't look like the same team?

 

"You ask me if I knew this answer, I'll let you know. I totally lost. I dont' know what's going on."

 

Q: Was that the strangest game you have been a part of?

 

"If you have a terrible goalie, its no surprise why there were so many goals."

 

Q: Was there ever a point where you were confident in this game?

 

"I have zero confidence in myself right now. (Unintelligible) I am terrible. I will now apologize in front of the fans, in front of my teammates. I don't know what's going on. I have no answer for you guys. I thought in the last game against Montreal, that nothing worse was going to happen. Today was worse."

 

Q: Do you ever remember feeling like this?

 

"No."

 

Q: In your career? This is the lowest you've ever been?

 

"Yeah. Something new to fight."

 

Q: Did working with goaltending coach Jeff Reese help at all?

 

"We didn't have problems with playing the puck. Not yesterday…not tonight. I can't stop the puck. It’s very simple. You can't ask anymore of the forwards. They score eight goals and we are still losing. It’s obviously a terrible goalie…that's me."

 

Q: Is it harder for you because, it is kind of a mess in front of you?

 

"You know it doesn't matter. They try and play hard, everybody. Bottom line, I am the goalie. I am the guy that has to stop the puck and clean the mistakes behind them, but I couldn't stop the simple shot. That's why maybe players make more mistakes because they don't have confidence in their goalie. Because the goalie is bad. I am the reason why we lost the game tonight."

 

Q: Is it a matter of simply just working things out?

 

"I don't know. I don't know. I can't tell anything right now. I am lost in the woods right now."

 

 

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33 Responses

  1. We knew we were getting this with Bryz. He’ll say what’s on his mind, and the media and fans will start shitting themselves. The fact is, every goaltender has felt this, they just don’t say it. Bryz will be ok.

  2. I knew it, people always turn to the goalie to blame. When obviously it’s the defence’s fault. You wonder why BOTH of our goalies did terrible last night? Because the defense gives up 20+ turnovers in our own zone!! STOP BLAMING THE GOALIES!

  3. Is it a matter of Laviolette’s system being based entirely around Chris Pronger? Is that why the defense is absolutely atrocious when Pronger is absent? I couldn’t believe they took the lead at 7-6 and then 28 seconds later or whatever it was had it tied and then a minute later were once again down a goal. that is TERRIBLE on-ice composure. Complete disaster. Zero communication. You can’t hang a 9-8 loss on teh f’ing goaltender. It takes a whole team to allow 9 goals. Bag-skate the whole f’ing team for a week. Laviolette should join them.

  4. Bryz stood up like a man and took all the questions, even though you can tell he didn’t fully understand alot of them, answered them all politely where’s the Mike Richards? Earlier in the comments Brian referenced the sopranos, to borrow a phrase from Paulie “Don’t get all cunty” over a game in October.

  5. @doomhooligan…..chill the fuck out…I remember when Joe Hare gave up 18 goals at devro one night then came back the next day and only let up 4… They will be fine

  6. It’d be helpful if Carle, Coburn, Meszaros could play like Carle, Coburn and meszaros. Kimmo finally had a decent game offensively but he was sprawled on the ice on a few jets goals.

  7. Bryzgalov’s confidence is hurt, but the real issue is the defense. They have been brutal in front of him, and the result has been the damage to his confidence.
    Bryzgalov will bounce back. I wish the Eagles were doing better, because then all the knee jerk assholes who usually ignore the Flyers would go back to that state, and stop complaining like morons after every loss.

  8. This is why you don’t tie up $5 million a year on a goaltender — instead, you look for bargains, the way the Craps did with Vokoun, and if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t set your team back for ten years.
    It is not news that goaltenders are all fucking headcases — the lot of them — why take the risk? I actually think Bryz will figure things out and get back to his above-average play, and we’ll find our way into the playoffs, but it’s gonna be a bumpy ride, and it’d be a lot easier if we still had at least one of Carter or Richards around.

  9. It’s not just Bryz’s fault. God forbid we hold a lead …it would be nice to end a period and NOT allow the other team to score with a minute or less left. It’s like as soon as we are up the defense lets up and starts suckin ass. We will be fine, its frigin October. We have a lot of new players so the team is still learning how to play together. Everyone needs to relax.

  10. Weird …
    I thought all you guys (and “women”) were baseball fans. Odd you weren’t watching the world series last night instead…. but you know whatevs
    Love,
    Beez Nutz

  11. Thinking about this game brought up kind of a glaring problem with this team. Obviously the defense has gone missing, and on top of that, Bryz can’t save anything or do anything to bail them out. I think the problem could be coaching. Not sure if I’m completely right, but heres my thinking…
    This team is completely different, on paper, from last year’s…The core for the past 6 years is gone and 9 new players of all ages have been introduced. But to me, this looks like the same team as last year: Undisciplined, no willingness to play a defensive scheme, they try to dipsy-doo into the other teams zone too much rather than win the battles in the corners, get complacent with a lead, etc. Getting rid of #17 and #18 didn’t change anything thus far, and won’t mean anything if we keep playing like idiots. I think it goes back to coaching, and as much as I like Peter, I’m not so sure of the job hes been doing.
    Look back to our cup run in 2010…Lets face it, we caught lightning in a bottle that post-season. Up until the last game of the season, where we won in a shootout to get into the playoffs, we played the SAME WAY we played at the end of last season/beginning of this season; inconsistent, undisciplined and lacked heart. We all saw what happened last year and if this year keeps going like this, I wouldn’t be surprised if Laviolette gets the boot.
    I know that its very early on, the hockey season lasts for about 800 games with ups and downs, and this can get fixed. I’m probably more just venting my anger right now.

  12. I almost punched a fellow flyers “fan” in the face last night when he blamed Bob for that 5th goal. I told him he is what is wrong with most people that call themselves flyers fan and have no fucking clue about hockey. Bob was not to blame for that loss. 3 deflection goals and leaving a guy wide open in front of him that just simply waited him out is not his fault. Most idiots want to go and blame goaltending because it is the easy route. Our team is piss poor in many different areas, forwards don’t back check, defense is spotty, bad line changes, seems like simmonds is the only one who can win a board battle, hartnell can stay on his feet or is usually cherry picking at the other blue line and not to mention the puck has seemed to be bouncing right to our opponents sticks. Sometimes that is something you can change to your favor by being in the right position. Coaching may be a problem, but Lavs uses a very complicated system that players take a while to learn. my biggest problem with Lavs is changing the roster and lines after a 3-0 start, that was just plain stupid. I think one of the main areas that has to be looked at is Jeff Reese, Bryz has had some bad starts in which he let in some uncharacteristic goals, but most were deflections and We want Bob to learn to be that solid backup that some teams in the NHL currently have. I think Jeff Reese has done a poor job with developing the young talent that we have had in the flyers organization over the past 2 1/2 years

  13. Matt, I agree with most of what you said. But Jeff Reese is widely regarded as one- if not THE- best goalie coaches in the NHL. I think he is a big reason why a tandem of Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher (READ THOSE NAMES AGAIN) was able to reach the Stanley Cup finals.
    I think everybody on the team just needs to get used to playing with each other and develop that chemistry. Give it time. They look terrible now- but a team is never as good as it looks during its hottest streak, and never as bad as it looks during its lowest low.

  14. Growing pains folks…going to be like this for a good part of the season. Lots of new faces on this team that have to develop chemistry. It takes time.
    Being a goalie its not fun going into a game when down 5-1…he also played the night before and did not have a great game so you know it was on his mind.
    Us goalies are head cases. he needs a few big saves and he will be fine. We are 10 games in and I already cant stand this Flyers fan base. Listening to 97.5 and 94.1 its crazy what some of these people are saying.
    Lets not forget Montreal played Florida and outshot them like 40-20 and lost cause the goalie was remarkable. Montreal was playing well going into the Flyers game even if they were on a 6 game losing streak. The jets were waiting in Philly for us and we played the night before. For them to have any gas to come back and actually take a lead is incredible…
    Bad game all around. Defense is a team position everyone is included. Move on from the game and get ready for Carolina on Saturday.
    Bryz will be fine.

  15. I’m not arguing that Jeff Reese is a bad coach, especially when it comes to veteran players like the tenders you mentioned Brian Boucher and Michael Leighton. I’m just saying we always seem to have young goalies that the organization gives up on because they tend to let in softies or are trying to learn on the fly. If our young goalies are that bad, maybe it is scouting or maybe we should stop trying to draft the younger goalies that get us nowhere like Riopel, Morrison, Eriksson, DeSerres, Phillips and Kovar. Our goalie drafting has been horrible. But I think Bryz and Bob will end up being a good tandem. I didn’t mean to blame Jeff Reese, I was thinking he should be on the goalies to work hard but also help them to build their confidence. I know he has only had 2 1/2 years with the organization and has to deal with a revolving door of goalies, but it looks like he should be ok for the next oh I’d say 8-9 years.

  16. How odd it seems that interesting SI article on Bryzzy came out yesterday:
    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/michael_farber/10/27/ilya.bryzgalov/index.html#ixzz1c0hg6uhg
    Anyway, no need to panic—yet. It’s Bryz being Bryz, according to that article. I think he came out better than Bobs. But both were let down by their 5 men in front of them.
    Fucking lazy passing in their own zone will create turnovers. I know they’re looking to mount an offensive strike but if guys aren’t in the right place just ice the fucking puck, even if you have to do it 500 times a game.
    And with the turnovers they go into fucking panic mode and crowd the net. But they crowd the net but didn’t do shyte to any Thrashing-Jet camped-out there (Laddie, if you saw the CSN replay Jones and Coates were FREAKING OUT about this). Yes, this was Pronger’s role, but I can’t believe that no other D-man can step in. Now it seems that with Pronger hurt and Richie gone, there’s nobody left to fight the opposing slot-slut. The young D-man vets like Coburn, Carle, And Mezzy need to step it up a notch without Pronger and prove themselves. They make too many costly errors that only rookies should be doing.
    So I’m not panicking about the goalies yet. But I’m panicking about the D-men. There’s no need to fire anyone, but I hope Lavs gets the rest of the guys to step-it-up and be accountable. At least Briere spoke for the goalies. His quote is in the recap:
    http://flyers.nhl.com/club/recap.htm?id=2011020128&navid=DL|PHI|home
    From what Lavs is saying he’s got a bead on the mistakes from last night and I hope it’s being adressed.

  17. PS: These growing pains is where most people thought the Flyers will be at this point in the season, and that’s with the asumption that Pronger would be playing.
    It’s too bad now that as Captain, Pronger—who is cleared for light excercise—can’t stand behind the bench with lavs in a suit and tie and motivate his team. Or at least in the locker room. I guess it’s an IR rule, no?

  18. i think coburn’s new baby is messing with his game play. also matt carle is a lost puppy without pronger, i have him on fantasy and this week he has gone a whopping -8…

  19. The d men on this team(save Pronger) are a bunch of pussies in front of the net in their zone. they make no attempt to clear the porch. they all need to grow a set and fucking hack some bithces up in front of bob and bryz. then some other teams will think twice about camping out in front un scathed.Fucking Drill Someone already!

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