Bryzgalov: Win now ... or it's over
VOORHEES, N.J. -- The beauty of an Ilya Bryzgalov interview is that you never know what the guy will say next, but you can usually count on its entertainment value being much higher than its informational worth.
Not so today, as Bryzgalov was giving the usual "I've been asked this question before" non-answers to points about being overworked - and yes, he is being overworked - in these desperate days during a compacted season for the Flyers.
Example: "Sometimes, yeah, you get tired," Bryzgalov said regarding his 25 starts in 27 games thus far. Then when asked if he's talked with coach Peter Laviolette about that, he added, "I can't tell you. You got to ask the coach. It's like, out of my hands. It's out of my authority to speak about coach and player conversations. If he decides to tell you, he'll tell you. I'm strictly forbidden."
But suddenly, as the Baffling Bryz will do on occasion, he launched an answer of serious clarity. This came when the subject changed to this week's pair of consecutive games against the New Jersey Devils, the first of which is Wednesday night at Prudential Center in Newark. For an athlete, Bryzgalov's response to how important these two games are to both teams was frank and courageous.
Whether he meant it to be is another matter...
"If you check the standings, they are four points ahead of us and they have one game in hand," he said. "If you win both games, you tied up with them and you have a good chance to continue the battle for the playoffs. But if you lose both games, you're done. You're done. That's it. This is it. This is probably reality. You're going to be like eight points behind them with (about) 30 games played and not many games left to catch up. It's going to be very, very difficult. It's not only going to depend on you. It's going to depend on other teams more than you. That's how important these games (are)."
Mark it down, then.
If the Flyers don't win Tuesday night in a building in which they've lost on their last five trips (including playoffs) ... it's all over?
Well, Laviolette said "Bryz has a valid point" about that. And Danny Briere went on and on in agreement.
Then, Briere concluded: "We need to win both games. Looking at tomorrow night, we haven't played well the last few games in that building. We have to break that trend."