Your Monday Morning Roundup

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Good morning, humans. Another Monday, and another week of being better than the alternative. 

I imagine that’s not how Stuart Smalley intended his self-help speech to be remixed, but we’re here for all your sports (and personal?) needs.

Big weekend– The Sixers played their first two home games of 2012. They won both, and, more importantly, the ownership group tried really hard. And the Flyers split a home-and-home with the Senators… thanks in part to Ilya Bryzgalov continuing to be simply average.

Judging by Twitter reactions yesterday, you’re split pretty much 50/50 down the middle– half of you blame the defense for many of Bryzgalov’s struggles, and half of you blame Bryz. 

I blame Bryz.

Yesterday, there was probably only one goal that made you groan, but a $51 million goalie needs to be better than Brian Boucher. Bryzgalov was brought here to put an end to sayings like “those goals weren’t his fault” and “_____ is the better goalie right now.” Ask New York and Boston fans if they ever have to say those things about Henrik Lundqvist and Tim Thomas– the answer is no.

Maybe our expectations of what an elite goalie should be are out of whack. I don’t know. Personally, I’ve never watched an elite goalie on a nightly basis (still haven't, it seems). Perhaps their struggles are only slightly less infrequent than those of the Bouchers and Michael Leightons of the world. I doubt it, though.

Goalies like Lundqvist and Thomas win games for their teams, not just prevent them from losing. Every team – ever – in the National Hockey League has defensive breakdowns. The best goaltenders – which is a group Bryz was supposed to be a part of – bails their team out more often than not. If the Flyers wanted a goalie to just stop the shots that he was supposed to stop, I would think they could have found someone for less than $51 million, or at least a goaltender who put up better numbers than this: [Bryz] 3.07 GAA (57th in the league), 89.1 SV% (66th in the league… one ahead of Boucher), and 1 SO (there are 19 goalies with at least 2, 8 with at least 3, and 4 with 4 or more). 

To put that filth in perspective, over the last two years Bryzgalov had a save percentage over 92% and a goals against average under 2.50– both with a not-that-good Coyotes team, which I'm assuming had many defensive breakdowns, too.

I’m done. Let’s hit it.


But first, a word from our sponsors:

Quizzo, Thursday night, 8 p.m., at Drinker’s Tavern in Old City. Details soon as to the topic, but you can be assured that there will be cheap beers… and a $25 gift certificate to the winners.

– Want FREE Flyers playoff tickets? Sure ya do. Our friends at are giving away a pair. All you have to do to enter is click this link and enter your email address for their daily sports and fitness deals. Simple. 

– Haircut. Beer. Save $10. That sound good? American Male, a full-service salon for guys in Center City, Berwyn and Reading that has been helping men look their best for over 12 years, has you covered. Visit or call 877-636-4247 to schedule an appointment. Just mention "Crossing Broad" to save $10.

– On Monday, January 23, Joe Montana will be signing autographs at the BC Sports from 6:30-8. Details and tickets here.

– Philly Phaithful is back at it again with their Knock Knock, Another Win t-shirt, which pays tribute to the Flyers’ victory song. Get one here, use code cb10 and save 10%.


The roundup

– Sixers color analyst Malik Rose channeled his inner “Negrodamus” this weekend. That’s always fun.

– A Claude Giroux video compilation, Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Giroux Thang

Charles Barkley on SNL.

– Someone posted a sign searching for Philadelphia’s lost Dream Team.

– The Philadelphia Honor women's hockey team (which includes CSN Flyers beat reporter Sarah Baicker) is raising money to support the troops by selling calendars featuring the girls. Yes and please. 

– Want to work at Xfinity Live!? They're hiring, and there will be a job fair on Sunday, January 15 from 10-2.

– If you haven’t heard, Ryan Howard is six weeks from returning to baseball activities

The Phillies may be interested in Kerry Wood.

Bill Lyon, legend, wants you to hop on the Sixers’ bandwagon.

– Like 50 people have sent me this story about a pregnant woman getting beaten at a Penguins game. My BS Meter (on the story, not the fine folks at The Pens Blog) is going off. But you can read it anyway.

– Gonzo chronicled the Sixers’ home opener, which was at times awkward– and it’s possible the team gave away tons of free tickets. 

– And, um, Tim Tebow

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39 Responses

  1. But Kyle… Thomas was 30 something when Rask replaced him. Meaning that no goaltender anymore (NONE) is elite his entire career. They ALL have their ups and downs. Thomas just hasn’t had them for a year and a half. Guess what? Bryz has had those same streaks. He is still one of the top goalies in the league, just struggling as of now. I’d rather he stop the shots he should stop now… and steal games in April, May and June.
    Said it before and I’ll keep saying it- Bryz needs to play well enough for the Flyers to win (which, average or not, he has done most of the year) right now. In April, May and June is when he needs to be hot and win games for us. And I still believe he has a good a chance as ANY other goalie to do that. He’s shown it in the playoffs before. And he will again.

  2. “Meaning that no goaltender anymore (NONE) is elite his entire career.”
    Are you really trying to compare a guy who’s won absolutely nothing to a 3-time all-star who’s won 2 Vezinas, a Conn Smythe, and a Cup….. because he had one down year? (And then followed that down year with a post-season performance not seen since Bernie Parent). Oh, the irony…
    “Bryz needs to play well enough for the Flyers to win (which, average or not, he has done most of the year) right now.”
    Except, no, he’s not doing that. Any goalie that posts a winning record with a GAA over 3 and a sub-900 sv% is winning games on his team’s offense, not on his play.

  3. Mickloud-
    Thomas has had 3 stellar seasons. Other than that, he’s been average (stellar years GAA: 2.10, 2.00, 1.99 [this year]). Other than that he’s had 3.00, 2.77, 3.13, 2.44, 2.56. So he didn’t have “one down year.” He’s had three incredible years… and was like Bryz the others.
    And for “really trying to compare” them… Thomas career GAA is .12 lower than Bryz, and a save percentage .009 better…. while Thomas is 37 years old and Bryz is 31. Goalies typically reach their peak in their mid-thirties, so we still may not have seen the best of Bryz and we have him under contract for those years.
    “Except, no, he’s not doing that. Any goalie that posts a winning record with a GAA over 3 and a sub-900 sv% is winning games on his team’s offense, not on his play.”
    While I freely admit he has not played exceptionally this year… what’s the Flyers record right now? Because that seems to suggest he is doing EXACTLY what I said- playing well enough right now for the Flyers to win.
    And Thomas is the consensus BEST IN THE LEAGUE and his career numbers really aren’t that much better than Bryz… so yeah, I’ll fucking compare them if I want to.
    Learn the game and check your facts before you spew bullshit.

  4. Caption under this photo should read:
    (From left to right: Overzealous face painter, Bigshot, Sixers CEO Adam Aron)

  5. Wait… Danny Briere has a hat-trick AND gets in to an extremely rare Briere Brawl (TM) and you’re not even going to adress it?

  6. Is the guy in the blue our new mascot? He should have a belly bounce contest with fat shawn from the Flyers.

  7. Hey CB people/Kyle — Thanks for the support of the calendars! We shot them in the visitors’ locker room at the Wells Fargo Center, and I’m pretty sure you’ll all be, um, satisfied with what you get, should you pick one up. 100% of the proceeds are donated to Defending the Blue Line, so it’s a win-win for everyone!

  8. No JT, Thomas has posted — in order — a 2.77/.917 (05-06), 3.13/.905 (06-07) 2.44/.921 (07-08), 2.10/.933 (08-09), 2.56/.915 (09-10), and a 2.00/.938 (10-11), with heavy emphasis on his “down year” of 2.56/.915 in 09-10. Even with his very sub-par 3.13 GAA in 2006-07, his save percentage — the true indicator of a successful goalie — was still above 90%.
    The fact that you tell me to “learn the game” while simultaneously defending an NHL-level goaltender on a $51m contract with a .891 save percentage and comparing him to a 2-time Vezina, Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winning goalie with ungodly seasonal numbers is so goddamn comical.. I don’t even know what to say, but it certainly plays out here for all to see.
    Reaching WAY down there and sampling Thomas’ 4 games in 2002 and claiming he posted a 3.00 GAA on the year just shows how diluted your position (and how asinine your comparison) is.
    The Flyers and their tied-for-2nd-in-the-league-in-goals-for are winning in SPITE of Bryzgalov right now… who is currently posting numbers that would make Michael Leighton’s grandmother beam with pride. …. numbers would have any other bubble goaltender on and off the waiver sheet all season.
    Really, in the end, Bryz earned his career numbers with very consistent steady play behind a barely-average Coyotes team for many years… the same consistent play that earned him his current $51m contract… and unfortunately that same consistent steady play that has gone completely MIA since arriving in Philly.

  9. JT…The flyers have a winning record because of depth on both ends of the ice. In addition to the people who are supposed to score, the offense is getting contributions from 3 or 4 rookies, older veterans and the scrappy players. Theres not a line that Lavs puts out that can’t score on any team. Not to mention that we have a couple really good two way guys that play great at both ends, like Giroux, Talbot, Meszaros, etc. And for the D to lose Pronger, its still played well. There have been some bad turnovers at times, but for the most part the D has held and played well.
    There’s no doubt that they’re not making Bryz’s job any easier at times, and you can’t always ask your goalie to bail you out, but Bryz is supposed to win games for us. Simply keeping us in games until he gives up a bad goal is what we paid Boucher and Leighton to do. He can make as many great saves as he wants in a game, but its inexcusable if he consistently gives up that one bad goal that eventually contributes to a loss. Hes been decent at times, but it seems more often than not after a loss that we’re all talking about a bad goal by Bryz. Not to mention that he just looks flat out awful on some goals. On some goals he looks like he has the five-hole of Michael Leighton and the lateral movement of an old man. As others have said, how many times do you hear that kind of stuff about Thomas, Miller, Fleury, etc?
    And I def hear you about goalies hitting their strides, but still..Before Fleury and Thomas won their cups recently they still played well. Thomas had a down year the year before, but he played well in years before that…I’m not saying that Bryz hasn’t played well before, but for a guy that we paid 52 million for, and who is supposed to be elite, I’d still expect him to be better than we’ve seen. If he wasn’t what he was expected to be, I’d have at least thought he’d be better than our previous goalies of the past couple years. Instead he seems like a funnier version of Boucher and Leighton.

  10. An uneducated fan would Blame Bryz…that is why we have a goalie controversy every single season. Because the media is a bunch of idiots and they continue to poke at it and stir the pot and then the typical flyers fans turn on comcast sportsnet and hear them bash bryz so in turn they do the same….
    Bryz was the ONLY reason the Flyers stayed in that game last night. If you cant see that your a moron. He kept that team in the game and gave them a shot to win…lets recap.
    Hartnell and Carle deflect pucks behind Bryz..
    Bourdon (who i cant believe still has a spot on this team) pinches when up 4-3 and misses the puck and the entire play and gives up a 3 on 1…Does Boston or NY give up 3 on 1’s when leading in a game?
    Chris Neil standing on top of bryz and nobody moves him. Bryz still made a great attempt as the puck barely crossed the line.
    Alfreddson scores on a 2 on 1, yes another odd man rush.
    Empty netter…
    Flyers are a better team than Phoenix but Phoenix at least played D in front of Bryz and kept the shots to the outside. Right now Bryz is being left out to dry and this is the WORST D to put in front of a guy that needs to build confidence.
    He can be better, and he has been in the last 2-3 games. But he is getting NO help. Go take a look at the teams you described Boston and New york. Check out how well they play defense in front of their goalie. Boston didnt have a single guy in like the top 25 in scoring last season but won the cup…why? Because they played a team defense…
    Did you see Wayne Simmonds pass the puck to a Sens player who was alone on bryz, did you see briere misplay a puck at the point for a breakaway save by bryz, did you see lilja look like a road cone, and take a penalty late in the game that gave Ottawa the lead and the win?
    Flyers are one of the Worst Defensive teams in the NHL without Pronger. Bourdon, Lilja and Carle are not going to get it done. Timmo has no size…The D does not scare anyone, does not clear the porch, and the offense cannot help break out…
    Lets take the easy way out though and just blame the goalie… that’s the simple thing to do since we don’t have to actually dissect the game and see what the real issue is with this team…

  11. On the knocked up and knocked out story… Must’ve been a pretty fucking big escalator, or a stopped one, in order for all that running up and down and punching to take place on it.
    Also. Friday night was historical at CBP for the AHL. A record breaking crowd of 45,000+ , coupled with the fact that for the first, and possibly last time in Winter Classic history, both AHL teams were, or at one point were, affiliates of the hosting NHL team.
    There were more people at the Phantoms/Bears game than the Sixahs home opener.

  12. So, Mickloud, I gave you the numbers… then you tell me I am wrong… and proceed to give the same numbers. Well done. Sorry I added the one 4 game season with a 3.00 GAA… forgive me for using all of his numbers.
    Everything you just said has NOTHING to do with my argument. You act like I said Bryz is playing well this year, when clearly through every post (played out for all to see, as you’d like to say) I’ve said he has NOT been great, only that he has the ABILITY to, and that I’d rather see him playing at that level in April, May and June instead of now.
    So where, exactly, is that wrong? Or is it because of his bad GAA and bad save % that he never has the chance to be great again?
    Or am I wrong for putting some of the blame on the Flyers defense? You know, the defense that lost its leader and is starting two rookies? Is it so crazy to think they may not be playing great in front of Bryz every night?
    Again, I’m not saying Bryz is playing well. But you guys act like the signing is the worst contract the Flyers have ever given out. And what I’m saying is that you need to give him time because EVERY GOALIE HAS UPS AND DOWNS, INCLUDING TIM THOMAS, AND YOU LISTED THE NUMBERS THAT BEAR THAT OUT. I never ONCE said Bryz was better than Thomas, all I did was compare the numbers. You say I can’t compare them. But a career difference of .12 in GAA and .009 in save % really does NOT make them incomparable. And that is the comparison to the BEST GOALIE IN THE LEAGUE and his career numbers aren’t THAT much worse. What don’t you understand about that?
    And NONE of that has to do with the fact that Kyle disputed the first poster’s comment about Thomas (which was legit) and I was responding to that.

  13. No doubt that Bryz has played better, but there was still one goal he let in that wasn’t a result of his D that was just bad. He played well and kept us in it, but all that gets overshadowed by the bad goals. A couple of the goals in the Chicago game were leighton-esque as well.
    We absolutely have to play better defense, no doubt about it. I’d describe the D’s play as similar to Bryzs…Good for a long time until Carle or whoever makes a bonehead play and gives the other team an odd-man rush. That was the reason we lost the classic and one of the reasons we’ve been losing as of late. I don’t think people are blaming our losing ways all on Bryz, but you can’t say that he hasn’t lost games for us this year or played nearly to the level he was advertised to play at. The fact that we paid 52 million dollars for a guy who looks not much better than what we’ve had at goalie the past few years is scary, and I only hope that his play continues to improve.

  14. And JT…We didn’t sign him to be good in the future. We didn’t sign him on his potential or the fact that he might peak in a couple years, we signed him not just because of the stability int he future, but because he was supposed to play well now! Potential doesn’t excuse poor performance. The backlash at Bryz is warranted since we haven’t had a decent goalie in over a decade, and when we finally get one he shits the bed.

  15. I would just like the turnovers to stop. It is completely out of hand.
    You can’t lay blame on Bryz for the guys in front of him turning over the puck so regularly. That game was handed to the Sens. A 4-goal period is absolutely horrible – unless it’s the Flyers scoring the goals of course! – and every guy on the ice for those 20 minutes was responsible for that debacle.
    Fix the turnover issue and get the D straightened out. Hell, bring Marshall back up. At least he doesn’t always look like he’s wasting air.

  16. ok so….
    is it weird that i dont understand the shirt
    “Knock Knock, Another Win!”
    Insight anyone?
    Beez Nutz

  17. i did not just read that the phillies are interested in another pitcher… please tell me that was a typo. our team gets older and older with each year and regrettably each acquisition, and they go after another pitcher?

  18. @ Pete H:
    I’d equate your argument of “the backlash is warranted because we haven’t had a goalie in a decade” would be like having your last 3 girlfriends cheat on you, then saying to the next one “I’m going to not trust you, and the second I get a sniff that you might be talking to another guy, I’m going to flip out and say you were the worst mistake I ever made.” That’s not fair to either one and you’ll never have a good relationship that way.
    You have to give him a chance. And that chance is a full year. If he still plays this poorly in the playoffs, then by all means flip out and say it was the worst mistake ever. But you HAVE to give him the full year.
    Did you watch 24/7? Bryz said people asked him why he wanted to come to Philly. “It’s goalie hell,” they said. Want to know why? Because we do exactly this. A goalie plays poorly for a period and everyone freaks out and thinks they won’t be the answer. Then everyone gets on them- fans, media, etc, and the guy loses his confidence. How about supporting the guy for a full season before coming to the conclusion that he is completely worthless?
    And Pete, I didn’t say we only signed him to be good in the future. I know he is expected to produce this year… but my expectations of that production is “good enough to win” during the regular season and “hot and steals games” in the playoffs.
    And I haven’t seen him be SO terrible as to think there is no way that can happen.
    So relax, people, and have a little patience.

  19. JT is right, he obviously knows hockey. I see a lot of net crashing, and good screens (even by the Flyers at their own net). Bryz may only be playing at an average level right now, but Goal tenders play up and down, lucky for Flyers fans his down is average for most, wait until he get’s straight, he’ll be awesome for us. Pronger is sorely missed and must be replaced with a good defensive player asap.

  20. I’m not saying that I’m not going to give him a full year. I agree he needs a full year and that he can definitley get hot. All I meant by that “backlash” comment was that its not that surprising that people are pissed given our history with goalies. Seeing him play like this just gives me nightmares of that goalie carousel last year, and I don’t want to see that again. Given the commitment and what we gave up to make room for Bryz, I’d want him to play better than what we’ve seen. Its not like we’re talking about a few games here or there, we’re pretty much halfway through the season and his bad play has spoken louder than his good play. They didn’t start him for the Classic for christ’s sake…In what backwards world is your starting goalie supposed to sit out of the most hyped regular season game of the year?
    Its obvious the defense is whats going to make or break this team in the long run. That was evident last year against Boston. I don’t blame Bryz for a lot of the games we lose, becasue a lot of it is sketchy defensive play and sloppy puck movement in the neutral zone. But he does contribute to the problem, and its so frustrating that we’re talking about Bryz no different than we’ve talked about Boucher or Leighton over the last two years. And from what we’ve seen from him so far, who’s to say that hes going to go on that streak in the playoffs? Again, going back to last year, I don’t think its wise to just count on your players to “flip the switch” come playoff time.

  21. @JT….amen…
    Really cant put anymore arguments together as well as you did.
    I tried saying the same thing. We the fans and media make this a goalie hell because we flip out too soon. Goaltending is one of the hardest positions in any sport.
    You cannot expect a guy to come in and pay dividends right away on a different team, in a different conference where he has not faced most of these teams more than 1-2 times.You alsop ut a team in front of him that has 2 rookie defenders and has dressed 11 total Rookies after blowing its team up this off season.
    If you expected the Flyers to win the cup this year your dreaming. While I WISH it happens and pray it does. Realistically speaking with all the changes and injuries its a long shot. But we just need Bryz to get hot going into the playoffs and hopefully we pick up a D man to straighten things out on the back end because Pronger is probably done for his career.

  22. I can understand your points Chirp and JT…Guess we agree to disagree. I completely agree about the defense, the defensive rookies and the injuries/loss of pronger..but I find some problems with some of the other arguments.
    “We the fans and media make this a goalie hell because we flip out too soon. Goaltending is one of the hardest positions in any sport.”
    A) Its like that everywhere. Montreal, NY, Boston or any other big hockey market would have the same reaction to Bryz. Think we’re bad? Carey Price had two bad games last year at the beginning of the season and they were running him out of town.
    B)These are professional players…I know its a hard position but its what he’s done all his life and is being paid 52 million to do. “Its a hard position” or “the media is tough” isn’t an excuse.
    “You cannot expect a guy to come in and pay dividends right away on a different team, in a different conference where he has not faced most of these teams more than 1-2 times.”
    I get that. But hes a goalie. Other than playing the puck, he’s independent of all the other x’s and o’s to a point where adjusting shouldn’t be too much of a problem. And theres only so much you can study about other player’s shots and styles in the conference…At the end of the day, you still have make the saves. And with some of the goals he’s given up and his movement in the crease, I don’t think it has anything to do with the other players (in some cases). Also, this arguement is a double edged sword, because the same can be said about the forwards who play against Bryz.
    “But we just need Bryz to get hot going into the playoffs and hopefully we pick up a D man to straighten things out on the back end ”
    A) Easier said than done on both fronts.
    B) I said this before…I know its only January, and theres a lot of time for Bryz to heat up, but you can’t just expect him to flip a switch and be good in crunch time. If Bryz goes on a tear and plays well going into the playoffs, I’ll eat my words, but so far hes done nothing to indicate that.
    I actually feel that most of his problems are just mental, given how Bryz himself has reacted, and that can fix itself. Maybe I am just paranoid becasue of previous goalie situations…But I definitely feel this is a bigger problem than you’re making it out to be.

  23. @ Pete
    Thanks for making an intelligent argument for the other side. We will agree to disagree.
    Just want to bring up one thing, though:
    You said that we can’t expect the players to flip the switch when playoff time comes. And you’re definitely right. And you cited last year as an example of that. But here’s my issue with the whole thing, citing last year’s team. EVERYONE last year was dominating at this point (what you want Bryz to be doing)… and they peaked too early. Then they shit the bed at the end of the season. My argument is that I’m ok with Bryz not playing his best if that means that he will peak later in the season. That’s the best possible scenario for the Flyers, and what I can definitely see happening.
    Good talk though, good talk.
    And thanks Chirp, same to you.

  24. Thomas was benched for Tuuka Rask in 2009-10 as the starter….you do remember the Flyers-Bruins 3-0 series right? Maybe we should wait until at least the All-Star break to abandon ship on Bryz….or maybe we should just do the normal Philadelphia thing and overreact to less than 1/2 a season…

  25. @Pete
    “Montreal, NY, Boston or any other big hockey market would have the same reaction to Bryz.”
    Maybe…Bryz has not been as good as he should. We can all agree on that. However Montreal, NY and Boston all have pretty good D cores. They pride themselves on D actually. None of those teams have a dominating offense like the Flyers. All 3 teams did the same thing. Got a goalie and built the D around him (See Fleury) Flyers started too but lost pronger, carle is hit or miss, timmo aging, Coburn is prob our best Mez is hit or miss Lilja and Bourdon dont deserve to touch the ice. If we had a half decent D I would be all over Bryz as well…
    “I get that. But hes a goalie. Other than playing the puck, he’s independent of all the other x’s and o’s….”
    Dont agree at all. Western conference and East are completely diff style of hockey. Stopping a shot is the basic point of being a goalie but knowing where D man is going to be, how hes going to react and the tendency for players hes playing against is all different. Its not so much of studying but more of experiencing it first. About the guys playing against bryz…its much easier to watch a few videos on ONE goalies playing style and how to beat him, but to watch a video on every player that shoots on him is not so easy…
    “Easier said than done on both fronts.”
    So is stopping every shot in a hockey game lol. I am a goalie I know from experience. Some of these “soft” goals are not so soft they just look it on TV. Some of these “easy” saves are sometimes harder than expected. You have a split second out there sometimes and if you dont make the right move bam its behind you. Bryz is on the wrong end of a lot of bounces right now. He played really well last game in Ott.
    “I know its only January, and theres a lot of time for Bryz to heat up, but you can’t just expect him to flip a switch and be good in crunch time.”
    Briere, Leino, JVR, Thomas, Broduer, Cam Ward, etc have all flipped switches going into the playoffs. Dozens of more I could name as well…If they all can why can’t bryz? You look at all the teams that win the cup its cause of a solid D and a goalie who gets hot..Ward, Giguere, Niemi (minus cup finals)…hell Michael Leighton was a stud up to the finals…if they can all turn it on why cant bryz?
    Not ready to give up on him yet. way too much time left. The defence is the bigger concern for me…
    Sorry for long post…

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