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Bryzgalov: “What I lived through this season I wouldn’t wish to an enemy”

May 11, 2012, 9:40 AM EDT

NEWARK, NJ - MAY 03: Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on after Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils scored a goal against him in the first period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Prudential Center on May 3, 2012 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

Philadelphia goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov didn’t want to answer reporters’ questions during the Flyers’ postseason media day on Thursday, but he was willing to give a very open and honest interview to Natalia Bragilevskaya of SovSport.

“What I lived through this season I wouldn’t wish to an enemy,” Bryzgalov said. “. . . I need to keep working. I understand the fans. They paid their money and want the show. But many forget that we are not robots, but living people. We have feelings, worries.”

Bryzgalov was very inconsistent during the regular season. He was a bit more reliable in the playoffs, but not in a good way. With the exception of Game 6 against Pittsburgh, Bryzgalov allowed at least three goals in every postseason contest.

“I got very tired this season, to be honest,” he said. “. . . Now I know what it’s like to be a goaltender in Philadelphia. Maybe from the outside it looks like there’s nothing to it. You only realize it on your own.”

It sounds like the media scrunity he experienced in Philadelphia might have come as a revelation, especially considering he jumped straight from the Phoenix Coyotes to the Flyers.

“People are so concentrated on the negative that they only see the bad in me,” Bryzgalov said. “But I think you need to be kinder to each other.”

Still, Bryzgalov does feel that he’s gained “invaluable experience” this season and he’s not prepared to give up despite the difficulties.

“I have eight more years to work under my contract with Philadelphia,” Bryzgalov said. “If I am criticized, then I will endure it. You can’t tie up people’s tongues. It is their right to let the emotions go.”

Being criticized is just something that’s going to happen if you’re playing for a big city in a key role. That’s not unique to hockey and certainly not unique to Bryzgalov. He wasn’t all bad this season, not even close, but the Flyers need more from him going forward.

  1. comeonnowguys - May 11, 2012 at 9:47 AM

    I’d feel sorry for him if Philthy’s reputation hadn’t been widely known.

    • eigglesnosuperbowls - May 11, 2012 at 5:01 PM

      SO HUMONGOUS SMALL !

  2. millertime30 - May 11, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    We’re not in Glendale anymore…

    Really though.. this is what happens when you go from a city where hockey is an afterthought to one where your building is rocking every single night. He simply wasn’t ready for the pressure.

    Not to mention that Tippett character seems to know how to make his goaltenders look alright. (See Mike Smith)

    • sjshark714 - May 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

      The coach yes… but the whole team and system made him look good in PHX. Their only chance there is to play tight defensive hockey and score 2-3 goals a night. Philly has a pretty lax defensive system to begin with… then you take out pronger… and they are pretty much just run and gun trying to be the first to 5 or 6 goals. There aren’t many goalies who can shine in a role where they are hung out to dry on defense… I think Quick is one, I think Bryz COULD be one…

    • kitshky - May 11, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      You mean Sean Burke knows how to make Goaltenders look good …

      Tippet told Pierre Lebrun that he’s the best goalie coach in the league and we should all look out for Mike Smith, turns out he might be on to something.

  3. mojosmagic - May 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM

    Life is hard for Breezy The Clown and I have a way out. Retire. Return the 50 million you stole and join the Russian circus.

    • miketoasty - May 11, 2012 at 10:16 AM

      “But I think you need to be kinder to each other.”

    • gramkind - May 11, 2012 at 1:57 PM

      I think you are forgetting the Russian circus is full of bears, so no go.

  4. malkinrulez - May 11, 2012 at 10:13 AM

    The guy has talent, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn it around. I do think the Flyers more open style was tough to adjust to but after a year playing in it he will be better for next season.

    • beavertonsteve - May 11, 2012 at 5:38 PM

      The biggest challenge to Bryz turning things around long term may be Bob getting his shot and taking the job.

  5. atb4 - May 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM

    He’s not in the right business if he doesn’t like what the media and fans say

  6. gekkoguy82 - May 11, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    I don’t really care for the Flyers, but I really hope Bryz finds success and stability next season. Transitioning to jarring new life circumstances can be extremely difficult for most anybody on this planet, regardless of how much money you make or what it is you do for a living. He’s a really unique personality, and the game benefits from his presence even when Flyers fans want to string him up.

  7. doopdoop10 - May 11, 2012 at 11:16 AM

    He will be fine. A lot of Philly fans forget the fact that this was a rebuilding year.. We traded our captain for christs sake, we had about 8-10 rookies on the roster almost every game and still knocked the cup favorites out. Bryz understandingly could not handle the intensity of Philly but that wasn’t the problem. We had no defense and when that changes next season everyone will see the skill bryz has and is working for!

  8. cleverbob - May 11, 2012 at 11:23 AM

    I like Bryz and hope he becomes more consistent next season. Then he’ll see that the pendulum swings both ways in Philly, just like any other major city with a large media presence.

  9. spavs412 - May 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    It is the system! I can play goalie in phx and be great lmao. Really why is this a shock

  10. jblah - May 11, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    its hard to feel sorry for a person making $51 million. i dont’ think i could feel sorry for myself either.

  11. tackledummy1505 - May 11, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    Lol I love how people jump on our city and our fans. Jagr even stated that he loved the atmosphere here and that it was like a fresh breath of air from other teams he played for. We know our sports and we want hustle. Maybe in a city like Pittsburg where clapping is all they need to give, but here we want to see determination and we’ll give it right back. Like Jaworski said once though, “You either love it or hate it in Philly. Some players like that right away response and others don’t.”

    • crazemastercraze - May 11, 2012 at 7:35 PM

      the reason people hate philly sports fans is there arrogance and sense of entitlement, they all act as if the flyers and eagles(sixers and phillies fans are more reasonable and humble) are last seasons defending championship teams. it’s like bizarro world around here (i live in jersey). it’s unbelievably annoying!! they all need to go to therapy and have it explained to them the short comings of their respective teams, if that at all humanly possible….

  12. flyeredup - May 11, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    He will be fine. In March he was phenomenal. 4 SO and a .947 save pct for the month. He was great except for the Game 5 gaffe in the Devils series

  13. ihateclevelandandphillyandbaltimore - May 11, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    The 55 million dollar hologram !!!!!

  14. hiltonandastoria - May 11, 2012 at 12:05 PM

    Never have I heard so much come from a slightly above average goalie in my life.

    Shut up Breeezy

    Homer was an IDIOT for paying him as much and for so long.

  15. rushfan3 - May 11, 2012 at 12:09 PM

    I must be in the minority, because I don’t think like Bryz is talking. I even sent a Tweet to the Flyers saying Thanks for a great year and hoping that very few changes are made to the team. Considering that there were rookies on this team, they did a HELL of a job!

    Sure, I get upset and yell at the screen because they are losing. Sure I get excited when they score and they win one. The one thing that people who put Philly fans down seem to not see is that when we have passion about something, we have TOTAL passion for that. We do have a higher standard as fans for the teams in our town. We’re not New York, where we know if one team doesn’t make it, another will. We’re not a two team sports town in one organization. While we might not own the team per say, we are the type of town where we expect to see that someone who’s on a $50 million contract to play like that $50 million player. We expect the money’s worth, even though we are not the owners of the team.

    Lastly, the goalie is only as good as the defense is. We struggled with defense because one of our key defensemen, Chris Pronger, was taken out early in the season with a puck to the face. Flyers need to figure out the defense with who they have. It’s as simple as that. I saw a great line up with Grossmann and Coburn, and Meszaros is a good addition, but we need more from Kimmo and others. Defense needs to be there so Bryz can actually do better.

  16. chasemutley - May 11, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    This dude is coo-coo for coco puffs.

  17. capsfan19 - May 11, 2012 at 12:30 PM

    Do flyers forget their defense was more porous than string cheese? Give bryz a dang chance.

    • quizguy66 - May 11, 2012 at 12:37 PM

      More porous than string<– cheese? That's a new one for me.
      -QG

  18. riles1008 - May 11, 2012 at 12:59 PM

    I totally agree that defense sucked all year and people blame him for everything

  19. lsxphotog - May 11, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    He will be much better next season. Philly fans are not easy on their netminders, but Brzy will probably work hard to grow a thicker skin and shut them up with his play. At least I hope! (not a Flyers fan but I liked Bryzgalov in Arizona)

  20. Kingsville_Minor_Baseball - May 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM

    Waaa!
    Dude didn’t seem to think about, or care, about the added pressure playing in Philly when he signed that massive contract.
    Perhaps, Bryz, money isn’t everything.

    I don’t understand these players. They can’t wait to make the big bucks, but then cry and whine when they get it from a big hockey market and crumble under the pressure.
    What did you think would happen?
    I think if every NHLer had it their way, Florida and Phoenix would have a $200m cap, all the stars would sign there and nobody would show up to watch.
    They’d love it.

  21. dawglb - May 11, 2012 at 5:54 PM

    The first year of anything is tough. However, he received an education this year. Sounds like he will use what he learned to get better. I think he will only get better. This horrible year (for Bryz) will only make skating around the ice with The Stanley Cup that much more sweet!!!!

  22. joewilliesshnoz - May 11, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    Go have a cheesesteak and fuggetaboutit !

  23. dawglb - May 11, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    It is so hypocritical. For example, all postseason, the Pens fans say, “Bryz sucks! Waste of money!” , etc. Then, a story comes out like this and they say, “I feel bad for the guy. Playing in front of those fans and media must be tough.” Bottom line, Pens/Devils fans: he either sucks and deserves the treatment or he is fine and the treatment is unfair. Can’t have it both ways. Go ahead blast me…….

  24. wisbadgers - May 11, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Bryz got what he wanted and now he’s crying. He wanted a huge contract and he wanted to carry a team. Unfortunately, he forgot one thing…he sucks in the playoffs…absolutely sucks.
    Have fun watching the Coyotes play in the playoffs while you drink vodka in Russia. Maybe that Dave Tippett and that Sean Burke guy might actually know a thing or two about hockey.

    Can you say over-rated Bryz? I know the fans of the Flyers can!!!

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