What a difference a few weeks can make for a player. Being trashed by every fan, local and national media, even some former teammates and friends, Ilya Bryzgalov still stayed tough and kept working. I guess the next time Peter Laviolette feels Bryz is overworked, he will start him in the next 10 games.
After many attempts at rationalizing and probing the situation of why Bryzgalov was failing to perform up to his potential, the organization finally listened to him. Bryzgalov is a true workhorse goaltender and I myself thought that is why they felt comfortable giving him a 9 year deal. I mean the last few decent prospects of good goaltenders were worked into the ground by this team.
Ray Emery was the most recent but guys like Robert Esche, Roman Cechmanek, Antero Nittymakii, and Michael Leighton were all beat to shreds with the workload that is the Philadelphia Flyers starting goaltender. So why you wouldn't overload a guy who has averaged 64 games a year with great success?
In the 2009-2010 season, Bryzgalov played a career high 69 games and posted a record of 42-20-6 with a GAA of 2.29 and a save percentage of .920. His numbers over his career have improved significantly as his workload increased. He is currently on pace to play right somewhere around 60-65 games and I know Laviolette had to give Bobrovsky his shot, but you don't pay a goaltender $51 million to give a young kid a shot at the starting spot.
Now to round back to the point of this blog. I would like to personally congratulate Bryz on his 4th shutout of the year and on winning over the fans of this city. That is far from the easiest thing to do here in Philadelphia and he worked so hard at getting our support as Flyer fans.
With that said, gear up the bandwagon guys here comes all the Bryzgalov fans! I will say right here right now that if he stays healthy, Bryzgalov will win 45 games next year, win the Vezina, lead this team to their best season in franchise history, guide them to the presidents trophy and if all goes right, Lord Stanley returns to our beloved city.