It’s almost as if the ghost of Ron Hextall haunts the Flyers, a Voldemort-like curse, so that no goalie will every succeed. At least it seems that way.
Chris Pronger’s lingering post-concussion syndrome has thinned the Flyers’ blue-liners with Erik Gustafsson and Marc-Andre Bourdon hitting a rookie rough patch. The Flyers have made recent moves to bolster their defense by acquiring Nicklas Grossman and Pavel Kubina to Philly. These moves needed to be made by General Manager Paul Holmgren.
Unfortunately, neither Kubina nor Grossman can play in net. The Flyers may need to make a move for a netminder if Bryz or Bob cannot improve their game. Evgeni Nabokov from the New York Islanders comes to mind. He would be a perfect fit for a veteran back-up to Bryz that can come in and settle the game down should games get away from them.
While the Flyers’ seem to have issues in all aspects of the game, all problems eventually circle back to one of the fundamental concepts of hockey – stopping the puck from entering your team’s net. Flyers’ goalies Ilya Bryzgalov and Sergei Bobrovsky seem to have forgotten this aspect of the game recently, and it has cost the Flyers crucial points that will come back to hurt them in their playoff standing.
Goaltending must significantly improve if the Flyers want to make a long playoff run. Other teams are taking advantage of the Flyers’ struggles of late. The Devils bumped the Flyers into fifth place in the eastern conference with a win over Montreal Sunday night.
It is not out of the realm of possibility to believe that the Flyers will remain in their underachieving standing if they don’t start playing better.
The Flyers’ chance of a successful playoff run relies mostly on Ilya Bryzgalov’s performance in goal. There has been recent news that Bryz has not been able to handle the pressuere of playing in a city like Philadelphia.
“I’m trying to find the peace in my soul to play in this city.”
Philadelphia is a passionate sports city that wants teams that are successful and win championships. Philadelphians want their athletes to speak honestly, but positively about their performance.
These quotes, although entertaining, are damaging to his career and are negatively affecting the way Flyers fans feel about him and his capability as a goalie. He’s acted like a “clown”, so it’s time for this circus to end.
Peter Laviolette has been trying to get Bryzgalov back into his old rhythm on and off the ice. Bryz, like most goalies, has been known to have a different personality than most.
“It takes all types [of personalities] to make the world go round” said Coach Laviolette.
Recently, Flyers’ defenseman Kimmo Timonen called out the entire team due to a lack of effort. However, Peter Laviolette and Paul Holmgren believe the effort is there. To quote the General Manager, “the effort just needs to be smarter.”
Bryzgalov has been feeling the pressure, criticism, and doubt from the fans. After allowing a shorthanded goal during a 5-on-3 against the Penguins on Saturday, Ilya was booed out of net.
Bryzgalov is showing his struggles in his on-ice performances in net. I think everyone can tell that this is true. And now, his off-the-ice antics and remarks afterward are not helping his case either.