You guys. Please don't hate me. Guys? GUYS? (Courtesy: Eric Hartline-US PRESSWIRE)

What The Hell Is Up With Bryzgalov?

I’ve defended him. I’ve pointed to bad bounces. I’ve blamed bad team defense for giving up too many good chances and for not being tough enough in our own zone. But during Saturday’s embaressing 6-4 loss to Pittsburgh, I’m pretty much done with Ilya Bryzgalov.

It’s an easy life when you can blame the one guy. ‘It’s a bad goal. It’s the goalie’s mistake.’ It’s easy to find a scapegoat when you point to one guy and say, ‘We’re always losing because we have a bad goalie.’ But I think it’s the wrong philosophy. I know I was frustrated with my game today and I know I’ve got to be better. I will continue to work on this, but I’m just trying to find peace in my soul to play in this city.

- Ilya Bryzgalov

Seriously? What the hell is wrong with you dude? Allow me to break down everything he said:

  1. It’s an easy life when you can blame the one guy. – When you look at the overall picture, he’s right. He’s not the only problem. The defense has been horrendous. However, he hasn’t done much to help cover up for them.
  2. ‘It’s a bad goal. It’s the goalie’s mistake.’ It’s easy to find a scapegoat when you point to one guy and say, ‘We’re always losing because we have a bad goalie.’ – Consdering this came directly after the Penguins game, he’s an idiot for saying this. He missed out on 2.5 easy saves. (I’ll explain the .5 in a bit). Teams can overcome a few weak goals. But not many, and not every time. You have to give your team a chance to win, which you did not.
  3. But I think it’s the wrong philosophy. – You’re not the only problem, but you have not been part of the solution at all. You’ve done nothing to inspire confidence this season, at all. I cannot remember one interview where other guys passionately defended you. They avoid speaking poorly of you simply because that’s the professional way to handle things.
  4. I know I was frustrated with my game today and I know I’ve got to be better. – We’re waiting….
  5. I will continue to work on this, but I’m just trying to find peace in my soul to play in this city. – Stop being such a mental midget. It’s not that freaking hard to block things out. When you suit up and hit the ice, are you still thinking about everything we expect of you? Are you worried about proving yourself to us? If so, WHY? The only thoughts running through your mind should be scouting reports. You’re playing a sport you love. Everything else is nonsense. You don’t need peace in your soul. You need to read the play and react, that’s it.

Ilya was signed because we thought he was a proven commodity. There’s no freaking way that he lost the physical talents that enable him to build a monster reputation in Phoenix. Thus, it’s all mental with him. He’s simply not focused enough, for whatever reason. Let’s break the 3 goals down from his latest misadventure.

First, Matt Cooke carries the puck down the left side on a 2 on 1 rush. As the goalie, your job is to focus on the shooter, and let your defender take care of the passing lane. Do not anticipate a pass, but be prepared to slide across if you do see a pass attempt. Instead, he left the short side open, and wasn’t ready to knock away a very, very easy shot.

Next, Jordan Staal crosses the blue line and lets fly with a shot towards the glove side. A replay from right behind the shooter showed that Bryz had a clean look, he just whiffed on his attempt to grab the puck. It seemed like one of those instances when something feels so easy, that you just screw it up. As in, he figured it was an easy snare, and assumed that he’d grab it. Instead, he waved at it too casually, and it beat him.

Finally, the third goal is the one where I’m not sure it’s all his fault:

If I’m in his shoes, I see that Timonen is doing his best to wrap up Matt Cooke, and that Cooke’s stick is a tied up and he looks like he’ll either get spun around or dumped to the ice. Then, at the last moment, he get’s loose, handle the puck, and puts it right under Bryzgalov’s armpit. The problem is, he waited to react, and by the time the whole play was upon him, he had little time to react. However, he could have prevented the shot it he’d charged out of his net and made any sort of attempt to knock the puck away. It’s not as if he should have been worried about Cooke pulling a move around him, because he had a Kimmo Cape on him briefly. Cooke only caught up to the puck at the top of the circle in our zone, and he didn’t have full control of it. He shouldn’t have been given that much room by the goalie.

Hhe’s got time to win me back. He’s got time to instill hope, and prove that he’s not a $51M mistake. But until he does something to earn some praise, I’m even more in support of Bobrovsky than I was at the end of last season.

Thanks for reading!

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Tags: 2011-12 Nhl Season Ilya Bryzgalov Ilya Bryzgalov Struggles Jordan Staal Matt Cooke NHL Philadelphia Flyers Phoenix Coyotes Pittsburgh Penguins Sergei Bobrovsky

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