Q: You have been a big supporter of goalie Ilya Bryzgalov, who always seems to find his way into some kind of controversy, even though it’s sometimes no fault of his own. Fans argue on social media about whether the Flyers should keep “Bryz” or buy out his contract. Do you think he’s been treated unfairly by the media and fans?
A: Welcome to Philadelphia! I think people are frustrated with our goaltending historyand they really want to see someone come in and be Martin Brodeur. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. Look at what happened to (Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre) Fleury, a quality goaltender, who last year fell apart in the first round against us and now this year fell apart against the Islanders. And he may have been one of the key guys responsible for Pittsburgh winning that Cup (in 2009). I think goaltender is the toughest position in sports and we see all kinds of things. Steve Mason, who we now have, lost his job in Columbus to Sergei Bobrovsky, then Mason himself said that our goaltending coach, Jeff Reese, adjusted something and helped him tremendously. Let’s wait and see. The guy’s got all the tools.
Q: True or not, the fan base believes that you are most responsible for the Flyers trading for Bryzgalov two summers ago and then signing him to a nine-year, $51-million contract. A lot of people also believe if Bryzgalov’s contract isn’t bought out that you’ll be the reason.
A: First of all, I didn’t pick Bryz. That’s not my job. Our staff picked Bryz of the available goaltenders and (general manager) Paul Holmgren basically decided that was the guy he wanted. My role in the whole thing was to say, ‘We’ve got to get a quality goaltender. We can’t go through what we went through that year with the goaltending in the (2010) playoffs.’ I think we would have won that Cup (instead of losing in the Final to Chicago) if we had been a little more solid at the time in goal and not switching around so often. The point is that I don’t get involved. I don’t ever say, ‘I’m signing this player.’ I don’t know enough about the players. We have scouts. We have Paul Holmgren. We have all the people that work for Paul that make these decisions.
Three things: 1) Put blame on Homer. 2) Snider’s defense of Bryz amounted to a wait and see on Mason. Tells you a lot. 3) Though I’m not the biggest Michael Leighton fan in the world, he was part of the reason the Flyers even got to the Finals in 2010. Even if you disagree, the philosophy that we need a better goalie to eek out two more wins and a Stanley Cup so let’s trade the core of that team is a very, very bad one. This is where I remind you that Jeff Carter has four playoff goals and Mike Richards has eight points in eight postseason games and the Kings are up 2-0 in their second round series against the Sharks.
Snider on his critics:
Q: You said, ‘Welcome to Philadelphia’ earlier. You haven’t been criticized much through the years, but have been of late. Does it bother you?
A: It comes with the territory. We live in a fishbowl and I love the fact that the fans are so passionate and they all have an opinion. Every guy at the bar knows a hell of a lot more than I know, so what the hell difference does it make? I’m not going to beat myself up about it because I think they have every right to criticize. And sometimes we learn from it. We listen to them.
You can read the full interview here.