Last Friday was a chance for the Flyers to go into MSG, revenge a 2-0 shutout from earlier in the year, and make the Winter Classic a rubber match. Instead the Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to two deflections that Bryzgalov didn’t have a chance on. Meanwhile Henrik Lundquist continued to show why he has to be in the top goalie conversation. He rarely gave up a rebound and just looked dominant in between the pipes. Can Bryzgalov say the same? The resounding answer is no.
Yes the Russian has become the star of 24/7, his popularity around the city is beginning to blossom at the perfect time with the Winter Classic right around the corner. This isn’t LA though. The value of a player isn’t based on their popularity with the fans, its about what they do on the playing surface. That is how someone like Villie Leino became a household name around playoff time two seasons ago.
Bryzgalov still has time to prove that he is the savior of the Flyers, no pun intended. All this city wants is championships, the song and dance of making the playoffs has been played out for years now. The platform for number 30 to enter Philadelphia sports history will take place in May, but the Winter Classic is the biggest stage for hockey in the city besides hosting a Stanley Cup finals game. Eyes from around the globe will be tuning into see the spectacle that has become the Winter Classic.
Here state side the game draws a much wider audience than any other hockey game due to the simple fact that it is played outdoors and is on a national network during a holiday. Citizens Bank Park will have a mystique that cannot be replicated anywhere else, but more importantly it will provide the universe with a chance to prove to a national audience that he was the right choice for this hockey club because if Laviolette has to go with his hot hand in the playoffs this year the biggest offseason signing will be considered a mistake.
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