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Bryzgalov didn’t make good first impression with one Minnesota columnist

Mar 7, 2014, 2:35 PM EDT

Ilya Bryzgalov - Epic - 24-7

Here’s a rather curious piece from Jim Souhan of the Minnesota Star-Tribune, in response to Ilya Bryzgalov‘s first practice and media session as a member of the Wild:

Trading a fourth-round pick for a veteran backup goalie isn’t a problem, especially when the economy of that move enabled the addition of a quality player such as [Matt] Moulson. The problem is that this particular veteran backup goalie doesn’t appear to be someone you would entrust with your season.

[Wild GM Chuck] Fletcher knew Bryzgalov when they were together in Anaheim. That was a decade ago, before Bryzgalov’s career was defined by his massive contract, goofy quotes and horrid play in Philadelphia.

Bryzgalov whined a lot in Philly, when he wasn’t musing on the insignificance of human life in the cosmos. Thursday, he participated in his first practice with the Wild, then stood in front of the Wild-logo background for one of those obligatory and awkward introductory sessions with the local media.

We wanted him to be funny, or at least passionate about joining a likely playoff team. Bryzgalov, perhaps feeling burned for being more famous for deep thoughts than deep playoff runs, refused to turn on the charm.

Souhan didn’t like Bryzgalov’s response to a question asking what the last 24 hours had been like — to which Bryzgalov sort-of flippantly replied “you want minute by minute?’’

For further context, watch this video (Bryz segment starts at :45)

Having seen a few Bryzgalov scrums in the post-Philly era, this doesn’t strike me as anything out of the ordinary — it’s pretty much how Bryzgalov responded in every scrum as an Oiler. His days as a quote machine seem long gone, but he still answers questions like any run-of-the-mill NHLer would.

Souhan’s bigger issue, it seems, is that the Wild may be forced to rely on Bryzgalov as more than a backup goalie. With Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding essentially done for the year, the No. 1 gig is Darcy Kuemper‘s to lose… and, given he’s only 23 years old with 24 games of NHL experience, it’s possible he’s not ready to shoulder the load.

Especially come playoff time.

  1. lowenni - Mar 7, 2014 at 2:39 PM

    What, so he has an obligation to please the media and give them quotes for them to criticize him for? Nothing wrong with being blunt when answering questions. The fact that this writer, Souhan, calls him out for “not turning on the charm” bothers me. No one likes the media anyways.

    • av416 - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      Agreed, since when is it a players responsibility to basically do a reporters job by giving them funny quotes. For what its worth, although that minute by minute response wasn’t particularly witty, it seems consistent with the goofy answers Bryz has given in the past…so I don’t get this reporters complaints. Especially cause he has no right to complain in the first place.

    • lowenni - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:31 PM

      Except for you Halford 😉

    • bwayblueshirt - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:24 PM

      That’s all well and good, but when the asked him “How much are you looking forward to getting some game action”, his response (verbatim) was “I don’t know. How much?”

      Now that’s just asinine.

      I always thought he was just one of those guys who plays well enough to cash in on a fat contract and then just coasts through the rest of his career.

      • patthehockeyfan - Mar 7, 2014 at 5:28 PM

        … when the asked him “How much are you looking forward to getting some game action”, his response (verbatim) was “I don’t know. How much?”

        Would you or the reporters have been satisfied if he answered, “I’m very much looking forward to getting some game action.”?

        I think the question was asinine.

  2. jo94past - Mar 7, 2014 at 2:40 PM

    Souhan always finds something to gripe about. He literally tries to find the negative in everything.

    • greatmiamisportsmind - Mar 8, 2014 at 11:07 AM

      I thought that was Dan Barreiro?

  3. patthehockeyfan - Mar 7, 2014 at 2:42 PM

    “We wanted him to be funny, or at least passionate about joining a likely playoff team.”

    Seriously? This guy has the nerve to write about what he (and maybe other reporters) wanted from Bryz? At this point, Bryz has more credibility than Jim Souhan.

    Bryz certainly is a character, make no mistake about it. And, yes, his time in Philadelphia was a disaster. By all means, criticize him for that if you must.

    But, to complain when he doesn’t act like a circus monkey because a reporter wants him to is beyond the pale.

    • phutchin77 - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:02 PM

      That said, name a goaltender whose time in Philadelphia wasn’t a disaster!

      • vanindeed - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:15 PM

        Parent? Hextall? You do have to go back a ways

      • phillyphanatic77 - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:33 PM

        Lindbergh, Cechmanek, Biron, Mason, Bob was solid most of the time… this idea that Philly is a goalie graveyard is a misconception propelled by Bryzgalov’s massive failure. Sure we’ve had a ton of goalies, not much consistency, but those numerous goalies have had good seasons here. Even players like Robert Esche and Michael Leighton found success in Philly.

        As for this criticism of Bryz, it may not be warranted but get used to the smartass responses. He’s probably the worst vet to pair with a developing goalie like Kuemper. I get that he was cheap but there appeared to be more viable options out there for Fletcher in his quest for a Cup.

      • bwayblueshirt - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:33 PM

        Checkmanek, Biron, Vanbiesbrouck, Esche, Niitymaki, Bobrovsky, and now Steve Mason is faring pretty well. Defense is the real problem. Philly doesn’t have a true shutdown pair, and heaven help them if Pronger officially announces he’s never going to play again.

      • bwayblueshirt - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        Lol, how did I forget my all time favorite: HEX!

      • courtjester1234 - Mar 7, 2014 at 6:06 PM

        Truth be told if Pelle Lindbergh had not tragically passed the Flyers would have swept the Oilers when they faced each other in mid to late 80’s. Pelle was that good and it took the Great ones team 7 games to defeat a man-child of a goalie name Ron Hextall. But we fans of the Orange and Black attack have been fed crappy goalies in hopes that they might be the final lynch pin to once again hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup,only to come up short…like that goal the B-hawks got to win the Cup a few years back

      • barby97 - Mar 7, 2014 at 11:47 PM

        Philadelphia itself is a disaster

  4. jo94past - Mar 7, 2014 at 2:45 PM

    The media always asks such dumb questions. Things like “Are you excited about joining a playoff contending team?” or “What have you done the past 24 hours?” are just stupid, commonsense questions. So Bryz didn’t give a scripted answer like every other NHLer out there to please the media. Big deal. Calm down, Souhan.

  5. sknut - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:00 PM

    Souhan can pick out the smallest of perceived flaws and hammer a guy for it. I think Bryz knows his role and I am sure its not easy when you get traded and have to make the quick turnaround. If he has to play more than 8-10 games the season is probably in bigger trouble anyway. It was a nice cheap rental to provide depth. No need to read more into than there is.

  6. sjsharks66 - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:04 PM

    This is embarrassing! They want him to dance around and talk about the universe? What a bunch of A-holes.

  7. 950003cups - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    Leave the guy alone! He’s there to stop pucks, not give a lecture on Supersymmetric Quantum Mechanics at University of Minnesota.

  8. chrisk61 - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    bryzgalov is bad on 2 levels. first, he isn’t a good goalie and will lose games you his team. he has strong stretches but more so he gives up soft goals, will give up 2 or 3 in a short period of time once he gives up the 1st one and will give up the backbreaking goal late in the game when the gm is tied or his team is down by one. oh and i almost forgot, he is terrible in the shootout.

    second he is team chemistry killer and locker room cancer.

    pick your poison. terrible move by minn, even if he doesn’t play much.

  9. crazemastercraze - Mar 7, 2014 at 3:51 PM

    Bryz’s jokes are reserved for his play on the ice. That’ll make you laugh.

  10. angrytwitterguy - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    It’s only game, why he heff to be mad?

  11. wutangwild - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:05 PM

    After reading this and Souhan’s article, I decided to make an account on here to say how much of a HACK Souhan is. Bryz hasn’t even played a game yet and he’s already ripping him apart. One of the most pessimistic sportswriters out there and I’m embarassed that he covers MN sports. Bryz will get 5-7 starts MAX in this last stretch of games barring any injury to Kuemperor (knock on wood), and I’m fine with giving up a 4th for that in a weak draft. Wish they had some pieces from Russo on here, cause ya know…he actually knows what he’s talking about. Can’t wait for tomorrow’s game

  12. tlow97 - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:17 PM

    Bryz is a sieve, and I didn’t like the trade.

    That said, he’s funny as hell sometimes, and I’m glad he got under Souhan’s skin. Souhan’s a younger version of Sid with the stuff he writes.

  13. flyerguy73 - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:21 PM

    They can have that looney bird! I can’t understand why teams want him?

  14. drewsylvania - Mar 7, 2014 at 4:52 PM

    “The problem is that this particular veteran backup goalie doesn’t appear to be someone you would entrust with your season.”

    If Souhan thinks ANY backup goal should be entrusted with a team’s season, he needs to have his head examined.

    That’s why they’re BACKUP goalies!

  15. strictlythedanks - Mar 7, 2014 at 5:14 PM

    More like Poohan, no one likes a negative nancy that doesnt know his stuff.

  16. richmonddude - Mar 7, 2014 at 5:43 PM

    I also made an account just to let everyone know what a jerk Souhan is.

    Not only is he always negative and narcissistic, Souhan is the same guy who referred to Coach Jerry Kill as a embarrassment to the entire state of Minnesota. Not for his coaching, mind you, but for being epileptic. Souhan literally called for him to be fired because of a medical condition. What a truly awful person.

    If Souhan doesn’t like this guy, then my opinion of Bryz just went up substantially.

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