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Holmgren: ‘Costly mistake’ resulted in Bryzgalov buyout, largest in NHL history

Jun 25, 2013, 4:26 PM EDT

Paul Holmgren AP

Say this about Paul Holmgren — he’s shouldering the load.

The Flyers GM owned up to a massive error in judgment on Tuesday, calling Ilya Bryzgalov‘s nine-year, $51 million deal “a costly mistake.”

Holmgren is shouldering all the blame for this failed experiment, one that resulted in the largest buyout in NHL history — surpassing the Islanders buying out the final eight years and $17.6 million of Alexei Yashin’s deal in 2007.

And the Flyers GM is taking this on solo because, in May, owner Ed Snider shot down the notion of being the driving force behind the deal.

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.

That’s in stark contrast from the picture painted at the time of the signing.

In June 2011, this piece ran in the Philadelphia Daily News, suggesting Snider had plenty of influence on the 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.”

As with most things, the reality probably falls somewhere in the middle — but that’s of little consolation to Holmgren, now responsible for what could be argued as the worst deal in hockey history.

  1. 19to77 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    Owners are like politicians – they love to claim a share of the credit when times are good, but they’re the first to throw underlings to the wolves when times get tough and deny they ever supported the decisions they themselves demanded be made.

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  2. tastybasslines - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:33 PM

    In a couple years, we are going to hear this again, next time about Mark Streits ridiculous deal. The garbage just keeps on coming from Philly.

  3. nach0mancandysandwich - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:34 PM

    my goodness…could this guy go a few minutes without media attention? I really hate homer.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Really? It was just announced that they’re getting rid of a polarizing goalie with a huge contract… is he just supposed to hide from reporter’s in his office? Philly is a sports-driven city where the media coverage is round the clock. This is not Holmgren seeking attention, in fact he’d probably want to avoid the media after this blunder.

    • narfmoo12 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      Yeah! What a jerk for having a press conference about the buyout! How dare he!

      • nach0mancandysandwich - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:09 PM

        it’s more about the fact that he leaks interest in every player with a pulse. it seems like everyday he’s pounding his shoe on the table and foaming at the mouth for attention.

  4. valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:35 PM

    Wow! Fire Holmgren. The buck ends with him, but he throws his staff under the bus. Is he telling us he doesn’t know how to qualify a goalie who’s been in league for 6 years? Sure sounds like it.

    • narfmoo12 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:53 PM

      You apparently don’t read. Those are Ed Snider’s quotes, not Holmgren’s. Holmgren didn’t throw anyone under the bus.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:31 PM

        I missed that. Happens often when on the smartphone while multi-tasking.

    • biasedhomer - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      Also happens when you are on an agenda and fail to see things objectively.

      • valoisjoeybfeld69 - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:27 PM

        Right! biasedhomer! Hoolmgren didn’t throw the staff under the bus, but someone needs to pay for the move. Fire Holmgren is still something I believe. So! Move on!

  5. killerpgh - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Anybody that has Comcast cable, internet or phone help makes it possible for Snider to afford buying out Bryz and more or less paying 40 million for 2 years of service. Glad I cancelled Comcast years ago. Now if I could just stop using this site that is owned by NBC witch is tied into Comcast Spectacor.

    • wingsdjy - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:46 PM

      No one’s stopping you…

    • somekat - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:48 PM

      tied to comcast spectacor?

      try owned by

    • esracerx46 - Jun 25, 2013 at 6:17 PM

      Ok, I feel compelled to inform the illinformed. While Ed Snider does own a partial stake in Comcast Spectacor, that is just Comcasts branch for Philadelphia. Comcast owns 63% of it and Snider has a 37% stake. In th Chicago for example, it is called Comcast sportsnet. Which is owned by NBC (20%) Joe Ricketts-Cubs owner (20%) Jerry Reinsdorf- Bulls/White Sox owner (40%) and Rocky Wirtz-Blackhawks owner(20%). So your thinking of ditching comcast to spurn Ed Snider was a bit baseless…unless your from Philly.

    • biasedhomer - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:57 PM

      You obviously have no clue what you are talking about.
      You pretty much follow a simple minded route:

      Comcast-Spectacor owns the Flyers. Hmmm, I see the brand “Comcast” in there. Comcast owns the Flyers!!! Everyone in America that pays for Comcast’s services supports the Flyers! Hey, I’ll switch providers, so I am not supporting the Flyers, and let me also tell everyone I know to switch from Comcast, cuz you know, if we all do that, they’ll go bankrupt and the Flyers won’t have any money to spend! I’m a genius!!!!

      • drone501 - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM

        guess my cable bills going to go up.

    • jimw81 - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:54 PM

      snider only has a small 5% stock in comcast. nice try, thanks for playing

  6. capsfan19 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM

    Wow… This franchise is going to need some help. I wouldnt want to play in philly knowing no matter what you have no job security. Team captain loved by fans- traded, one of highest scoring men on team- traded, great prospect that had great potential- traded, vezina winner- traded. Crazy russian goalie- acquired, then bought out. What?

    • somekat - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:50 PM

      horrible example? good job

      Richie was loved for what he could of become, that died out years ago. Carter disappears/ed in the playoffs. “great prospects” are traded every day. “vezina winner” could of been had by anyone in the league for a 2nd round pick last year, and they didn’t, so spare me

      Besides that fact that your a caps fan. You can talk when your franchise can get out of the first round….ever

    • narfmoo12 - Jun 25, 2013 at 4:54 PM

      The Flyers got Voracek, Couturier, Simmonds, and B. Schenn for Richards and Carter, and I bet the Flyers make both deals again in a heart beat.

  7. vicvega422 - Jun 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Snider is slowly becoming the Al Davis of the NHL.

  8. bills4 - Jun 25, 2013 at 6:17 PM

    How does this guy keep his job. WOW!!

  9. govtminion - Jun 25, 2013 at 6:27 PM

    Now watch Bryz sign somewhere else and return to his Phoenix/Anaheim levels of play, just to really salt the wound.

    • jimw81 - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:51 PM

      i think bryz is sadly heading to the khl after the beating he took from the flyers beat writers.

    • desertfan - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:55 PM

      i just looked up his career numbers and he has never been an a or b or c nhl goalie-they blew it.

    • edwelsh8 - Jun 26, 2013 at 8:43 AM

      His Anaheim days? You mean when he was a backup goalie? He was never the starter in Anaheim.

      • govtminion - Jun 26, 2013 at 10:42 AM

        Look closer. I can personally remember him making Colorado look stupid in the playoffs many years ago in relief for Giguere. It’s when I first became impressed with him. That was… 2006, I think? Somewhere in there.

        (Granted, by that point it was pretty easy to make the Avs look stupid.)

      • edwelsh8 - Jun 26, 2013 at 1:34 PM

        I did look closer. He never played more than 31 games in a single season for Anaheim, validating my point that he was never the starter there. Playing a good game or two in relief of the starting goalie doesn’t cement him as a high end goaltender for the Ducks.

        Oh, I looked even closer. In seasons with Anaheim that he played more than one game, he never had better than a .910 save percentage.

  10. lroc20 - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:34 PM

    The saddest part is that the flyers literally bid against themselves 2 yrs ago and decided that 9yrs 51 mill was a good price. Borderline mongoloid thought process

  11. crazemastercraze - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:40 PM


  12. crazemastercraze - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:43 PM

    It must be pretty awesome to get paid seven figures annually and totally suck at your job.

    • phillyphanatic77 - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:02 PM

      If I remember correctly, Ray Shero, a man Pens fans proclaim as a genius, gave up a bunch of young assets for over the hill vets… something the Flyers are often accused of. And it was a colossal failure. Does that mean Shero sucks at his job?

      • hockeyfan1701 - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM

        Shero’s Penguins in June, playing in Conference finals. Holmgren’s Flyer’s in June, playing golf. Great comparison.

      • ml3939 - Jun 26, 2013 at 12:16 AM

        Really, you call scoring two goals in a June playoff series playing? You would be hard pressed to find a more embarrassing playoff series exit in the history of professional sports.

  13. sportsfan69 - Jun 25, 2013 at 7:59 PM

    Hey what does Carter and Richards have in common? They have Stanley Cup rings. Yeah, that trade was terrible for the LA Kings? NOT!

    • narfmoo12 - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:59 PM

      You are aware that the Flyers traded carter to Columbus for Voracek and the draft pick that became Couturier? Oh you aren’t? You’re just a dumb troll? Oh okay. I’ll go back to ignoring you while you do summer school homework.

      • jimw81 - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:55 PM

        carter orchestrated the trade to kings. he quit on blue jackets.

  14. hockeyflow33 - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:31 PM

    Two things to guarantee next year, Bryzgalov will be awesome where ever he plays and whoever is in net for the Flyers next year is going to have equally bad numbers

  15. girouxed - Jun 25, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    Snider and Clarke need to get out.

    • desertfan - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:59 PM

      Unfortunately Snider owns the team and Clarke is his son-in-law so good luck!!!

  16. flyeredup - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:07 PM

    And Carter won a Cup while Couterrier and Voracek golf. Get a clue

  17. jimw81 - Jun 25, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    i think holmgren took a bullet for snider because of something that is hurt this team in front office, loyalty. i cant name another team in professional sports that gives jobs in front office to ex-players. at least holmgren acknowledge how weak minded he is and incompetent he is. Just wait until ed snider retires and luukko is running this team.

    • desertfan - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:01 PM

      Or Clarke!!!

      • jimw81 - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:10 PM

        alot of people think clarke has input but he doesnt. thats the one of two things i like about homer.he ever let clarke convince him to sign or trade for player x. ill also give homer credit for finding centerman and wingers like laughton and cousins.

  18. pitpenguinsrulez - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:44 PM

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

  19. crazemastercraze - Jun 25, 2013 at 10:50 PM

    If the Flyers organization was some how responsible for a uranium leak in the Delaware river that killed all the fish and plants and poisoned people and gave them cancer, their fans would STILL manage to put a positive spin on it. That’s what we’re dealing with here people.

  20. joewilliesshnoz - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:46 PM

    Flyers management, now that’s an oxymoron.

  21. icelovinbrotha215 - Jun 25, 2013 at 11:51 PM

    Mr. Snider is at the root of all this. It’s unfortunate because he has done a lot in regards to DelVal’s growth in hockey fandom.

  22. mattyo99 - Jun 26, 2013 at 7:42 PM

    Why all you ppl argue over trades and signings and what not is crazy.Relax ladies..

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