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Bryzgalov’s ex-Phoenix teammate says Coyotes had to ‘put him in his place’

Nov 21, 2013, 7:20 PM EDT

BryzUpshall Getty Images

The Edmonton Oilers host the Florida Panthers tonight at Rexall, which means a reunion of former Coyotes teammates Ilya Bryzgalov and Scottie Upshall.

It doesn’t sound like the reunion will be all that friendly, though.

On Thursday, Upshall aired criticisms of Bryzgalov from the three seasons they spent together in Phoenix, acknowledging that — while a very talented goalie — Bryzgalov wasn’t an ideal teammate.

“There were a couple of incidents where he wasn’t happy with the way our team played in front of him and he did a few things that caused us to say something to him and put him in his place,” Upshall told the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “[He called us out] in not a very professional way.

“We had to take care of him because it wasn’t always about him. It was about the team.”

While Upshall said Bryzgalov was “unbelievable” in Phoenix and “a helluva goalie,” especially during his Vezina-nominated 2009-10 campaign, he suggested the Russian netminder greatly benefited from Phoenix’s defensive system and that, heading into his contract year, Bryzgalov’s main motivation wasn’t just wins and team success.

“There’s no question he probably played a little harder knowing that he was coming into free agency,” Upshall explained (Bryzgalov went on to sign a nine-year, $51 million deal with Philly). “Right now he’s in a spot where he has to prove himself again.”

As for tonight? Upshall says his time playing with and against Bryzgalov will help in figuring him out.

“He doesn’t like traffic, he doesn’t like guys in his face,” Upshall explained. “If you get under his skin he gets off his game.”

  1. charlieconway96 - Nov 21, 2013 at 7:28 PM

    “He doesn’t like traffic, he doesn’t like guys in his face,”

    What a surprise!

    • broadstreetbeatdown - Nov 21, 2013 at 10:47 PM

      Because other goalies in the league love traffic and guys in their face. Have a seat Mr. Upshall.

  2. 19to77 - Nov 21, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    Not that he’s wrong – like, at all – but that’s some big talk from a glorified grind liner.

  3. statsdolie - Nov 21, 2013 at 7:47 PM

    So because he’s a grinder he can’t say what’s on his mind?? Wow

    • 19to77 - Nov 21, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      Yeah, that’s fair enough. You’re right, grinder or no he has the same right to an opinion as anyone else. It just seems pointless to start talking about years-old problems out of the blue like this just because they happen to be playing tonight. I get airing these grievances to a point, but it’s been four friggin’ years. There’s a point when digging up old crap like this becomes childish.

    • patthehockeyfan - Nov 22, 2013 at 8:31 AM

      While the first response from 19to77 is valid, I have to question why we never heard about Bryz complaining to the media about the lack of support from him team. Yet, Upshaw needs to advertise that they had to “put him in his place.”

      Upshaw’s need to air this so many years later stinks.

  4. mcphillthy - Nov 21, 2013 at 8:07 PM

    I believe upshall 100% on this. You can tell Bryz is that type of guy. He is a cancer.

  5. thatsdoinit - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:04 PM

    Pretty sure Dubnyk is starting tonight anyway.

  6. hallforpresident - Nov 21, 2013 at 9:14 PM

    I feel like Bryz is a bit of a loose cannon. Hopefully he doesn’t damage an already fragile Oilers locker room.

  7. 950003cups - Nov 21, 2013 at 10:31 PM

    Bryz will shut the door on anyone who dares to attempt to score on the Russian Rock! The Bryz Curtain! The Soviet Bryz! The Beast Of The East!

    Watch how Ilya get Bryzzy! He’ll dance a Bryz!

    Clear the parade route for the city of Edmonton!

    It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No! It’s Super Bryz!

    Just kidding. He’s gonna suck again.

  8. flyerspsu - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:05 PM

    You know there has to be something wrong with a guy when so many former teammates trash you, that is almost unheard of in the NHL where the vast majority of the players are mature professional guys, Bryz might play the likeable oddball guy in interviews but when the cameras are gone it seems like he is a completely different person

    • moarjam - Nov 21, 2013 at 11:35 PM

      How many of his former teammates have actually came out and trashed him besides upshall? Serious question I can’t find any.

      • storminator16 - Nov 22, 2013 at 6:17 AM

        Coyotes players have come out and trashed Bryzgalov in the past. Derek Morris comes to mind. The situation Upshall speaks of should be a known situation by now if folks actually followed Coyotes news back in the day.

      • storminator16 - Nov 22, 2013 at 6:19 AM

        With that said, Upshall likes to run his mouth. I’m sure guys are demanding their GMs to trade for him just so that he can be on their team and let everyone know what goes on in their locker room. He is his own ‘NHL Revealed’. Clown shoes.

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