Flyers Part Ways with Bryzgalov

Ilya Bryzgalov ranked just 48th in the NHL in save percentage last season.

Ilya Bryzgalov ranked just 48th in the NHL in save percentage last season.

The Flyers have decided that Bryzgalov just does not fit. The outspoken net-minder was supposed to be the final piece of a Flyers team with Stanley Cup aspirations. He failed to help the team reach that goal. Although it was not completely his fault, his erratic play coupled with his brash outspokenness, was enough for the Flyers to send Bryzgalov packing.

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Ilya Bryzgalov Montage

Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov certainly had an interesting first season in Philadelphia.

Fellow Temple Owl and current Comcast Sportsnet Mid-Atlantic Video Editor, Shaun Gallagher, emailed me a tremendous link today to share with the Brotherly Love Sports readership. He put together a montage to sum up his feelings on Ilya Bryzgalov. This montage piece is all about the $51 million man’s first season in orange and black.  Bryz was certainly inconsistent to say the least throughout this season. He was either great or horrible in net. He was either sticking his foot in his mouth in interviews, or not talking at all, or he was either talking about hockey or the universe. Whatever Bryzgalov we received on any given night, much like Shaun’s video, he was always entertaining to watch.

Please Enjoy:

Video Courtesy of Shaun Gallagher, CSN Mid Atlantic

What do Philly Fans Want for Christmas?

Philadelphia fans have a lot to wish for this holiday season.

Tis the season to be jolly…

It’s the time of year when we all grab a pen and paper (or maybe an iPad) and make out our list to Santa Claus as we all hope for that special gift to be under the tree come Christmas morning. I came home this afternoon and noticed my parents making their annual inconspicuous trek out the door, failing to mention to anyone exactly where they were headed. They’ve dropped their share of hints to the point where my brother ended up making up a list for “Santa” and needless to say, that list is gone. I’m not trying to let the cat out of the bag for any of my readers who haven’t heard the news so lets move on.

The list itself made me wonder something. What are Philadelphia sports fans hoping that Santa brings them on Christmas morning?

There have been a few early gifts for Philly sports enthusiasts. The Sixers are back in action and thumped the Washington Wizards in their first preseason game last Friday. The Eagles defeated the New York Jets Sunday to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Flyers will be the hosts of this year’s Winter Classic at Citizen’s Bank Park and their star Claude Giroux has returned to practice following a concussion (Story via CSNPhilly). And of course, the Phillies re-signed Jimmy Rollins to a deal that will keep him in red pinstripes for three to four more seasons. But let’s be realistic. Philadelphia fans are hard to please so there’s a good chance there’s more on the list.

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Historic Trades for Flyers

Flyers Captain Mike Richards was dealt to L.A. yesterday.

The Flyers stole the thunder from their Wells Fargo Center roommates yesterday by making not one but two major trades that change the face of the Flyers franchise. Two players who were drafted by the organization on the same day, who won a Calder Cup with the organizations AHL Affiliate, the Phantoms, and who became the hands down two most dangerous players on a team two wins shy of a Stanley Cup, were traded on the same day.

Jeff Carter was dealt to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

The Flyers sent Jeff Carter to Columbus for Right Winger Jakub Voracek, a 1st round pick and a 3rd round pick. The team also dealt away Mike Richards sending him to L.A. in exchange for 19-year-old prospect Brayden Schenn, winger Wayne Simmonds and a 2nd round pick. The deal also freed up enough cap space for the Flyers to secure goalie Ilya Bryzgalov with a 9 year $51 million pact.

The move is the symbolic handing over of the keys to young up and comers, Claude Giroux and James Van Riemsdyk. Both players impressed last season and they will both have to do even more with Carter and Richards gone.

The Flyers now have a solid goalie on the roster, good young pieces for the future, draft picks, and cap space.

The two trades opened the door for the Flyers to sign G Ilya Bryzgalov to a 9 yr $51 million deal.

The move comes following a tumultuous season that ended in a 2nd round playoff exit following the teams improbable run to the Stanley Cup Finals the year before. The team did not click following their early season hot streak and many believed that rifts in the locker room were to blame. Peter Laviolette and Richards were believed to not have had the best relationship as coach and captain and many questioned whether Richards was mentally capable of being the captain of a team with a lot of players with leadership ability.

With the departure of the team’s captain, rumors are beginning to spread that state that Chris Pronger will be offered the C next season and that is with little surprise. He has always held his own when handling the media and that is something that Richards sorely needed to improve upon. Other potential captains may include Danny Briere and Kimmo Timonen.

So on a night when things were supposed to be shaken up in the Sixers’ organization, it was the Flyers who really made the big splash. Next season the Flyers will have to prove that it was all worth it by getting another shot at a Championship because it seems to be all about winning with that team.

And it Begins Tonight….Flyers Postseason

The playoffs begin tonight for one of the two teams that inhabit the Wells Fargo Center, the Philadelphia Flyers. The Sixers and Flyers have both made the postseason and while the Sixers head down to South Beach over the weekend to try to beat the Heat, the Flyers will get things started right here in Philadelphia tonight.

The Flyers are facing the daunting task of trying to quiet experts who have pegged them as the team to pick to get upset in the first round. The reasoning behind that doesn’t seem to far-fetched. The Flyers have certainly struggled as of late and the Buffalo Sabres are entering the playoffs playing the best hockey that they have played all season long.

Chris Pronger will not play in at least game 1 of the first round.

The Flyers will also have to take on the Sabres, at least early on, without the help of one of their key team leaders, Defenseman Chris Pronger. Pronger is facing issues with his hand and has practiced some but has been ruled out for game 1. His leadership and toughness had a lot to do with why the Flyers made the Stanley Cup last year.

Sergei "Bob" Bobrovsky will make his playoff debut vs. the Sabres.

The Flyers will also have the task of trying to win with a rookie goalie in net. Sergei “Bob” Bobrovsky will be making his playoff debut in the net during this series. Flyers’ coach, Peter Laviolette has expressed very little concern over “Bob” starting in the net and is excited to see what the rookie will bring to the table. Laviolette won a Stanley Cup in 2006 in Carolina with a rookie goalie, Cam Ward, and it will be interesting to see if lightening will strike twice for Laviolette.

Peter Laviolette will look to take the Flyers one more step further this season by winning the Stanley Cup.

This Flyers team does not seem to be the trendy pick that many thought they were earlier in the season. They controlled the Eastern Conference right up until the final two weeks when the Capitals took the top seed and did not relinquish. The Flyers characterized the 82 game season as simply trying to qualify for the right to compete for a championship and they accomplished that even though the are not the number one seed. They won the Eastern Conference last year from the 8th seed and they seem satisfied to be a 2 seed.

Obviously the Flyers have the personnel to win a Stanley Cup. The question is, can they put the recent slump behind them and flip the switch in time to win a championship. That question will soon be answered.

NHL to Unveil Brand New All Star Format

The NHL’s 58th All-Star game is this weekend and tonight the league will kickoff the weekend with a brand new twist. The league is “taking it back to the streets” essentially by dumping the old East vs. West format for a pickup game style. All of the All-Stars have been selected and tonight they will be chosen just like back on the playground when we were kids. The Captains are Carolina’s Eric Staal and Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom.

There will be two Philadelphia Flyers who will be available for selection, Claude Giroux (1st appearance) who is having a stellar breakout season and Danny Briere (2nd appearance) who was oddly not chosen for the All-Star game originally but was later added on even though he has arguably been the best Flyer this season. In addition to being the two Flyers at the All-Star game, Briere and Giroux are also roommates. That should make for interesting dinner conversation if the two end up playing on different teams.

The Flyers will also be represented on the bench as Peter Laviolette will be a coach for one of the teams. Tonight’s draft will take place at 8pm on Versus.