Posted by: emmaharger | December 15, 2011

Man of the Day 12/15: Ilya Bryzgalov

Ilya Nikolayevich Bryzgalov

Born June 22, 1980 (age 31) in Togliatti, Russia

Goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers

We have chosen to spotlight Bryzgalov because reportedly he steals the show in 24/7 (which neither of us have seen in full yet, not possessing HBO) and also because he’s just a character! Bryzgalov started out playing in Russia, splitting between Spartak Moscow and Lada Togliatti in his hometown. Anaheim drafted him 44th overall in 2000 but because Anaheim had two good tendies at the time, he spent quite a lot of time with their affiliate at the time, the Cincinnati Mighty Ducks. After spending basically four years in Cincy, he became Anaheim’s backup until injuries to starter Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave him the start more often. While he did a great job and notched some great performances in Anaheim’s 2006 playoffs run, by the next season, he felt like then-coach Randy Carlyle had no confidence in him and it showed. He rode the pine while Anaheim rode its way to the Cup. The following November, he was waived and Phoenix got him there.

He shut out the Los Angeles Kings the day after joining the Phoenixes, which gave them the confidence to sign him for three years. In these seasons, the Coyotes improved and improved, hunting for the playoffs, making them in 2009-10 in great part thanks to Bryzgalov. They faced Detroit and were eliminated by them, which happened again the following season as great uncertainty surrounded the team’s very existence. Bryzgalov struggled during this playoff run and after it he knew Phoenix couldn’t meet his contract demands as it was time to resign. He was traded to Philadelphia in June, signed for nine years and given $51 million to try and solve Philadelphia’s goaltending woes, which were especially evident in their playoff series against Buffalo and Boston. In this respect, he’s been pretty good so far (failing a very peculiar 9-8 loss to Failapeg that inspired him to tell reporters he felt lost in the woods). He has a 14-5-2 record, one shutout, a .901% and a 2.75 GAA. He’s third in the league for wins at 14. Now he gets to be on HBO!

Better not wear that shirt if there are any 24/7 premiere parties.

But ‘Bryz’ is, well, to quote himself, a good guy! He’s known for including his kids’ artwork in his masks (he has a son and a daughter). He also started his own goalie school this past summer and purposefully limited the class size so he could pay personal attention to each student. Good for him, once his playing career is over, maybe he can coach all the time! But furthermore, he’s apt at social media, or at least Twitter. You can follow him at bryzgoalie30 and he is just a delight. Whether tweeting photos of his Christmas tree or his son attempting to change the channel by touching the TV, talking about his favorite kind of drink or seeing The Lion King in 3D, Bryz’s infrequent tweets are worth seeking out because of how lovely and kind he is. Plus, he’s fascinated by things like well-trained dogs:


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