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Flyers owner Snider: ‘I didn’t pick Bryz’

May 17, 2013, 12:45 PM EDT


Philadelphia Flyers owner Ed Snider wants to make one thing clear — in the summer of 2011, he told GM Paul Holmgren to get a quality goaltender.

But he didn’t say which quality goaltender.

In an interview with the Courier Post, Snider denied that he “picked” Ilya Bryzgalov to be Philadelphia’s goalie and that the decision was made by his hockey operations people, specifically GM Paul Holmgren.

From the Courier-Post:

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.

It should be noted the 2011 free agent goalie class wasn’t exactly teeming with talent.

Tomas Vokoun went from Florida to Washington, Jean-Sebastien Giguere went from Toronto to Colorado, Brian Elliott went from Colorado to St. Louis and, in a chain reaction move, Phoenix signed Mike Smith to replace Bryzgalov.

Now, for a different perspective of how the Philly-Bryz decision was made, here’s a piece from Frank Seravalli of the Philadelphia Daily News in June 2011, shortly before the Flyers signed Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51 million deal:

Snider made it clear that he is the one who wants Ilya Bryzgalov in a Flyers uniform next season, setting in motion a directive at the end of last season that put general manager Paul Holmgren on a mission.

The Flyers acquired Bryzgalov’s rights on June 7.

“It had to be done,” Snider told the Daily News, just after arriving here for tonight’s NHL Awards show at The Palms Casino and Resort. “I was part of making it happen. It was hard to sit there and watch the Stanley Cup final, knowing what [Tim] Thomas was doing for Boston.”

The article also reported that Snider met personally with Bryzgalov that summer, even sending his private jet to pick up Bryzgalov from New York after his flight in from Russia.

“I was very impressed with him,” Snider said. “He was intelligent, fun to be around. It really was a nice meeting.”

  1. ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 12:51 PM


    so long Bryzgalov.

    • DonkeyStick - May 17, 2013 at 9:25 PM

      Agreed. It’s amazing that they have not had a #1 G in 20 years!!!!!!

  2. pitpenguinsrulez - May 17, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Days of Our Lives: Philadelphia Flyers edition featuring the story of Ilya Bryzgalov

  3. JoeAvg - May 17, 2013 at 12:54 PM

    Certainly of the five mentioned, Bryzzzz is the worst of the group. Nothing worse in sports than a meddling owner.

    • travishenryskid - May 17, 2013 at 4:00 PM

      Your hindsight makes you so smart. Incredible. At the time he was runner up for the Vezina and looked far better than any of the others.

  4. myroncopesflask - May 17, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    No you did not pick him but you continue to employ the clown that always seems to pick the wrong guys. Therefore you picked him… 1975

  5. bcsteele - May 17, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    This just in…Paul Holmgren fired and Ilya has been bought out…

    Not saying its for sure, but stuff happens when owners begin to distance themselves from their support structure…

  6. tfaltin - May 17, 2013 at 12:59 PM

    If only the Flyers signed Mike Smith. Or kept Bobrovsky. Or played defense.

    • hockeydon10 - May 17, 2013 at 1:10 PM

      I don’t know about that Mike Smith thing.

      Remember how awesome Smith was before going to Phoenix? Yeah, me neither.
      Remember how awesome he became after going to Phoenix? Yeah, me too.
      Remember how good Bryz looked in Phoenix? Yeah, me too.

      What is the common denominator? Phoenix. Specifically, Tippett seems to be really good at installing a great defensive system and Sean Burke, their goalie coach, seems to be really good at getting great performances out of the goalies under his care.

      The Flyers’ biggest mistake wasn’t just signing Bryz. It was failing to bring Burke along, too.

      • JoeAvg - May 17, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        I’ll agree with this. But when you see that same goalie constantly choking in the playoffs when the pressure’s on, you have to know something up. Even those of us on the outside could see that.

      • hockeydon10 - May 17, 2013 at 1:35 PM

        Sure. I’m not saying Bryz should be criticism free, just that there are other factors that skewed his numbers pre-contract.

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 17, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        Idk how Jeff Reese still has a job considering the results he’s gotten from Flyers goaltenders since he arrived in 09. I guess you can’t squeeze blood from a stone but still, Burke tends to do wonders with tall goalies. I’d love to see what he could do with Mason.

      • JoeAvg - May 17, 2013 at 2:08 PM

        @phillyphanatic77 Absolutely. You have to question the goaltending coach. Look at the effect a simple adjustment to Bobrovsky’s game by CBJ had. You mean to tell me that nobody in Philly could see the same thing?

      • maalea - May 17, 2013 at 2:46 PM

        There have been glowing reports about how well Mason and Reece are working together and Reece helped “fix” his issues.

        Some players and coaches styles mesh and some don’t.

        As a Flyers fan, I hope this match is a keeper.

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 17, 2013 at 5:47 PM

        maalea, I’ve heard that as well. However, Burke has a great track record of turning 6’3”+ goalies into all-star caliber starters. The defensive system employed by Phoenix certainly helps but he’s also doing something right. I don’t personally think Reese is doing a bad job, but I’ve heard that he and Bryz don’t get along. And he doesn’t have the same productive history as Burke.

      • kwells44 - May 18, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        @hockeydon10 – speaking from here in Phoenix, I agree with Burke being good at getting more out of the goalies he works with. There’s a caveat on how good Bryz looked in Phoenix – I thought he had Curtis Joseph Syndrome: when he was here he was fantastic in the regular season, but looked ordinary in the playoffs. The word here was that, ignoring the fact the ownership situation kept them from spending the money Bryz was looking for, they wouldn’t have signed him for anything near that anyway, because of how he looked in the playoffs.

    • jimw81 - May 17, 2013 at 8:26 PM

      hockeydon10 nailed it. this system isnt built for bryz. Jeff Reese should be fired years ago. He’s basically turned into Rejean Lemelin of coaches who wont go away.

  7. jimw81 - May 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Q:Do you envision big roster changes this summer?

    A: No, I don’t see big changes coming.

    big changes are coming.

  8. hammerhead5573 - May 17, 2013 at 1:06 PM

    Always the other guys fault. And now they have a $51 mil contract that no team will touch. Have fun with that one! I know the hockey loving world will love watching them eat each other alive

  9. fbothharbaughs - May 17, 2013 at 1:09 PM

    Anyone heard from Eiggles? This is a Flyers’ post, he should be chiming in…


    • ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 1:19 PM

      I have two theories.

      1. He’s not a full-on hockey fan and has buried his head in the sand until next season, since the Flyers are golfing. this is evidenced by his football-related name and his inability to say ANYTHING intelligent about hockey.
      2. He’s changed his name (and the team he’s faking being a fan of). Say, didn’t fivetozeroingameseven (or w/e it is) pop up just about the same time that eiggles disappeared? hmmmmmmm.

      • ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 1:39 PM

        here’s a compilation of some of fivetozero’s latest posts:

        “this just keeps getting better.”

        “Here’s a hint. You won’t!
        Caps. Suck.”

        “I love it. Keep going!”

        “What a bunch of pathetic babies. FIVE TO ZERO IN GAME SEVEN, PERIOD”

        “It’s a beauty to watch, isn’t it?”

        “Not to mention the no-call on Ovechkin in game 7.
        Which, if you’re just joining us, the Caps lost, 5 to zero.”

        “about that….”

        “Why didn’t he suggest a massive top-down conspiracy has kept his shots from going in?”

        “oooooooooooh! burn! you showed him.”

        things that remind me of eiggles: the trollery. again, the lack of anything informational or original. the redundancy.

        things that don’t: the lack of profanity. the lack of ‘your mom’ or ‘your sister’ jokes. mostly appropriate punctuation and some capitalization.

        you be the judge.

      • jpelle82 - May 17, 2013 at 3:55 PM

        the grammar’s too good to be eigglles and you can actually understand what you’re reading

      • fbothharbaughs - May 17, 2013 at 4:15 PM

        solid theories, sir

      • ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        eh, I spend too much time in internet comment sections while I’m not working at work. please don’t humor me or I may lose my job lol

        but seems people didn’t like my sampling of fivetozero…. not sure why. maybe they’re jealous of my ctrl+f abilities.

    • sportsfreak13 - May 17, 2013 at 1:24 PM

      Pens fans here, please stop with the 1975. You are just poking the bear (sorry bryz) for when the pens lose again. Thanks!

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 17, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        Thank you Sportsfreak. Especially since he and Myroncopesflask end every comment with 1975. Even on pages that have absolutely nothing to do with the Flyers.

      • har21441 - May 17, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        What’s Philly’s retort? 2009? I can live with that.

      • ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 1:47 PM

        @har21441…. how about 2012 round 1?

      • sportsfreak13 - May 17, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        Nope har21441 their retort is banruptcy. It’s a old dance and a dumb one. Why people can’t just talk hockey with antagonizing each other is beyond me.

      • har21441 - May 17, 2013 at 2:00 PM

        2012 round one sucks as a retort. Your 2012 round 2 is that much better? no cup, no glory.

        Bankruptcy sucks too. The Flyers have been morally bankrupt for decades.

        Either way – I’m gonna agree with sports freak – he seems to be one of the more level headed ones here. No more of the 1975 stuff from me.

      • sportsfreak13 - May 17, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        Thanks buddy! Much appreciated.

      • fbothharbaughs - May 17, 2013 at 4:17 PM

        The fact will still remain that the Flyers last won a cup in ’75

  10. fbothharbaughs - May 17, 2013 at 1:16 PM

    & on an unrelated note, Richards is averaging a ppg in the playoffs and Carter leads the Kings w/4 goals…

    Holmgren, CLEARLY they were the problem….

    Me thinks you just “got girouxed”!

    • ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      as a flyers fan, it’s painful. but their replacements aren’t too shabby. obviously not in the playoffs…. but this season.

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 17, 2013 at 1:30 PM

      People need to move on from the Carter/Richards trade.Ed Snider absolutely had Holmgren go after Bryz. And to sign the goalie, Richards and Carter’s excessive, long-term deals had to be moved out. Now was signing Bryz the correct move? No, personally I wanted Vokoun on a 2-3 year deal, but Carter and Richards had to be moved. And all four players they got in return have a chance be core pieces for a long time (depending on trades this summer). Voracek outscored both by a wide margin, Simmonds was only a few points behind them, and both Schenn and Couturier have yet to reach their potential. The trade worked out for both sides and was the right move, even if signing Bryzgalov wasn’t.

      • fbothharbaughs - May 17, 2013 at 4:18 PM

        The reason management gave for trading Richards & Carter was that they partied too hard & weren’t committed to winning. Guess that shoots THAT theory down…

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 17, 2013 at 5:58 PM

        Those were not the reasons given by management. Those were the reasons given by fans and less informed media members. It probably didn’t help that you could always find Richards and Carter drinking in Old City, but that’s not why they were traded. In order to sign Bryz to his monster deal the team had to clear cap room. It also afforded them the space to sign Jagr and Talbot.

      • jimw81 - May 17, 2013 at 8:17 PM

        There is more to the carter & Richards story that wasn’t reported. supposedly someone blocked a gossip columnist from publishing a story about them.

    • sportsfreak13 - May 17, 2013 at 1:35 PM

      I would take Vorachek over Carter any day and everyday. Just my opinion.

      • phillyphanatic77 - May 17, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        As would I. Plus he’s just 24 with a high ceiling. Carter is so one dimensional. He scored a bunch of goals this year but he had what? 6 assists? And he tends to be a liability in his own zone. I’ll always be a Richards fan, but they were too expensive.

      • ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 1:43 PM

        I’ll give it one more season before I say that. he broke out this year, was fun to watch. easily my fav flyer this year. but he could always have consistency issues like Carter did in Philly. we’ll see.

      • fbothharbaughs - May 17, 2013 at 4:21 PM

        The reason management gave for trading Richards & Carter was that they were too interested in partying & not committed to winning. How you make the team captain & olympian the scapegoat for playoff failures is beyond me…

  11. tdrusher225 - May 17, 2013 at 1:29 PM

    I bet Bryzgalov is wondering what else he’s going to have to say or do to get out of Philly.

    • ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 1:44 PM

      “Get that fatass Kate Smith off the jumbotron.”

      • digbysellers - May 17, 2013 at 2:24 PM

        You forgot unbelievably racist…funny how basically every Flyers fan has no clue about her past and what kind of songs she sang back in the day. I refuse to cheer for the overplayed “duet” her and Lauren Hart perform. It’s time to put that gimmick to bed.

      • ibieiniid - May 17, 2013 at 2:28 PM

        well I never knew anything about her other than that she was the team’s lucky charm.

        i was honestly saying that’s what bryz would have to say to insult the entire fanbase further. (well with this new information that I’m sure others know about, ALMOST the entire fanbase)

      • maalea - May 17, 2013 at 2:57 PM

        Let’s face it, The ’30’s and ’40’s were a different world. Wrong but it was accepted.

        Groucho Markx made a joke about his kids being able to go into a Country Club’s pool up to their waists because they were “only” half Jewish.

      • digbysellers - May 17, 2013 at 3:13 PM

        That doesn’t make any sense. Who cares if it was a different time?! Does that make it any less racist? And don’t give me that it was accepted crap either. Plenty of people back in that time didn’t accept it, so why should we? Your dumb Groucho reference makes no sense either…there’s really nothing you can say to defend her slovenly, racist lifestyle.

  12. 2qswing - May 17, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    This nhl owner should run for president. backpedals faster than forward.

  13. buffalomafia - May 17, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Hint hint! Ryan Miller?????

  14. valoisjoeybfeld69 - May 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM

    Q: Has anybody seen Holmgren and his staff?
    A: They’re under the bus. :-)

    • spochiefsfan - May 17, 2013 at 5:04 PM


  15. canucks30 - May 17, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Sounds like it’s Luongo time for the flyers

    • phillyphanatic77 - May 17, 2013 at 6:03 PM

      Haha dude, any time there is any goalie related article Canucks30 posts something about Luongo. It never fails. Like I’ve said before, you’re shopping him harder than Gillis.

  16. gbar22 - May 17, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    How can people forget so quickly that bryz was coming off back to back top tier seasons in Phoenix I believe he was nominated for the vezina that season as well and he was somehow the worst available? Fans have short memories.

  17. jkaflagg - May 17, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Lots of owners do the ” it wasn’t my idea” after a signing bombs, and sometimes they really believe it…..however, they sometimes forget that even a simple comment can influence their underlings, who don’t want hear later “I said I liked Bryzgalev but you signed Smith” if things go wrong…..

  18. andidee15 - May 17, 2013 at 7:56 PM

    It’s amazing how quickly Bryz went from an elite goalie when he was in a defensive-minded system to an awful one once he switched to a team with one of the worst Ds in the league (but not THE worst – sorry Flyers fans, but my boys in the burgundy and blue earned that “honor” last year fair and square).

    Anyway, perhaps instead of throwing the goalie under the bus, Snider and his team should be concentrating on fixing their defense. I doubt playing musical netminder is going to help them much until they do.

  19. President Charles Logan - May 17, 2013 at 8:03 PM

    chances are the kings will win another cup with carter and richards before the flyers ever do with schenn and voracek…


  20. crazemastercraze - May 17, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Next they’ll announce Isaiah Thomas as the public relations manager. This organization is a joke, somehow still riding the coat tails of a championship won almost 40 years ago.

  21. mclovinhockey - May 18, 2013 at 12:22 AM

    I do not think many people actually read this article.
    Picking players is not the owners job.

    So rather then signing an at the time Vesnia finalist who would you closes sign?

    As a flyers fan I think it would be smart to give Bryz another year. Now that we have a good backup and Bryz has settled in, we just need to make some changes on D and this team will be set.

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