Dec 8, 2011, 8:51 PM EDT
Since the first day of the season, all eyes in Philadelphia have been on newly acquired netminder Ilya Bryzgalov. The organization that has been missing one thing over the last decade had finally ponied up some serious cash to address their annual problem between the pipes. The nine-year contract was supposed to mean that the Flyers weren’t going to have to worry about their goaltending situation until 2021.
Fans in Philly came up a little short. Instead of waiting nine years, they waited about two weeks to worry about Bryzgalov. Just a bit short.
Today, legendary Flyers goaltender Bernie Parent came to the aid of the $51 million man. As most people in hockey, he preached patience as the team is only a third of the way through their season. “The more you believe in them, the more they believe in you and then you grow as a team, very, very important.” Parent said. “The Stanley Cup is not won in the first 20 games. You win the Stanley Cup after 82 games and then the playoffs. It’s a gradual improvement.”
Telling fans in Philadelphia to be patient—let us know how that one goes.
Parent went on to say that it takes time for a goaltender to get used to his defensemen, the big contract has nothing to do with his inconsistency, and people shouldn’t focus on his good play instead of looking at any bad goals he allows. Most importantly, the former goaltender talked about the mental challenges that Bryzgalov could be dealing with as he tries to find his way: “It’s like a pitcher, psychologically… You have to be very careful of your players, especially, a goalie. I think [Laviolette] handles him real well. It’s a matter of confidence. The more games you play, you understand your team.”
Just a bit of advice: if Bryzgalov wants to earn a little patience from fans, he might want to start improving on his numbers this season. The 11-5-2 record looks good enough, but the 2.89 goals against average and sub-.900 save percentage aren’t going to buy him any time from the fans.
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