What's buzzing:

Puck Daddy

Ilya Bryzgalov returns to Winnipeg, where they still aren’t overly fond of him

Harrison Mooney
Puck Daddy

View photo


In a sense, the Toronto Maple Leafs did fans of the Winnipeg Jets a favour Monday night.

With Ilya Bryzgalov in goal for the Philadelphia Flyers' visit to Toronto, and a stop in Winnipeg coming up the following night, it seemed likely that Brian Boucher would start versus the Jets Tuesday. However, after Toronto scored its fourth goal on Bryzgalov in 14 shots midway through the second period, Peter Laviolette made a goalie swap. Brian Boucher took over. He played more than half the game.

Now it seems more likely that Laviolette will go back to Bryzgalov, which is good news for Jets fans, who won't have to spend the entire game jeering the goalie who isn't playing.

Yes, Winnipeg Jets fans still don't particularly care for Ilya Bryzgalov, who famously dissed the city when there was a prospect of his Phoenix Coyotes moving there, citing the small population, the cold, and the lacks of parks as reasons he'd prefer not to go.

Bryzgalov apologized for the comments later in the year, but by then, the damage was done, and he was public enemy number one. Jets fans made sure his first visit in February of 2012 was no walk in the park, and not just because they don't have any. They jeered him all night. Will they do the same Tuesday?

Probably. From Arctic Ice Hockey:

But whether he starts or not is irrelevant. Jets' fans will be there, ready and waiting to unleash in unison with chants and verbal jabs. With Bryzgalov, it's personal. Let the sing-songs begin.

This is a strange thing to say, but if I'm Ilya Bryzgalov, I'm hoping the Winnipeg fans are absolutely vicious Tuesday night.

Well, he's probably looking forward to it either way. He enjoyed it last time, as chronicled by NHL.com:

"I like it," Bryzgalov said of the experience. "It was a great atmosphere. I wish every building would be supportive like here and support me like here."

"It was nice to hear [them] cheering, 'Ilya, Ilya,'" Bryzgalov said jokingly. "I never heard that before anywhere. When 15,000 people support you, it's very impressive."

"Here they cheer me," Bryzgalov continued, tongue in cheek. "In Philly, they boo me."

But there's another reason besides wry irony for Bryzgalov to soak up the hate tonight.

The Flyers' goaltender has something of a reputation as a weirdie, you see. You might have already known. This is a guy who heads slideshows titled "Ilya Bryzgalov and the 10 wackiest goaltenders in NHL history", a guy who's been blasted for his lack of focus, his inability to stayed dialled in when it counts. Public opinion is that Ilya Bryzgalov can be thrown off his game by making him the centre of attention.

But Bryz has been playing well this season, despite the Flyers' struggles. He appears eager to shed his reputation and prove to the world that he's a different goalie, more focused, more ready to play, and deserving of that insane contract.

If that's the case, a steady showing versus the Winnipeg Jets --whose fans have every intention of giving him a lot of attention -- could do wonders towards a paradigm shift.

Follow Harrison Mooney on Twitter at @HarrisonMooney

View Comments (11)
  • Philadelphia Soul win ArenaBowl, beating Arizona 56-42

    Dan Raudabaugh threw six touchdown passes and the Philadelphia Soul won their second ArenaBowl title, beating the Arizona Rattlers 56-42 on Friday night. Shaun Kauleinamoku was selected the game MVP after leading the Soul in receiving with eight … More »

    AP - Sports - 9 hours ago
  • Galaxy-Whitecaps preview

    The Los Angeles Galaxy will try to remain unbeaten at home and improve its playoff position when they plays host to the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Los Angeles (9-4-12) is fourth in Major League Soccer's … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 hours ago
  • Fire-DC United preview

    The Chicago Fire seek their second straight road win on Saturday and look to extend a modest unbeaten streak when they face D.C. United in a Major League Soccer clash at RFK Stadium. Chicago (5-11-8, 23 points) picked up its first win of the season … More »

    AP - Sports - 12 hours ago
  • Impact-Toronto FC preview

    The rivalry between Toronto FC and the Montreal Impact might be the best in Major League Soccer. The cities, separated by about 330 miles of highway, have been rivals for generations on many levels, including hockey where the Toronto Maple Leafs … More »

    AP - Sports - 15 hours ago
  • Sweden selects Enroth for injured Lerner

    With goaltender Robin Lehner still not fully healthy, Sweden replaced him on its World Cup of Hockey roster with Jhonas Enroth. The Buffalo Sabres' starting goalie was bothered by a right ankle injury for much of last season that limited him to 21 … More »

    AP - Sports - 16 hours ago