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RandBall: Let's stop piling on Bryzgalov

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • May 5, 2014 - 10:24 AM

 

Ilya Bryzgalov could have been better in Game 1 of the Wild's Western Conference semifinal against Chicago. He could have been better in Game 2. Any goalie who lets in even one goal could have been better. It's simple math.

 

Bryzgalov, too, would not be the Wild's choice in net if everyone wearing big pads was healthy. In fact, he probably wouldn't even be here. Those are the breaks. That's the reality.

But so is this: he shouldn't be the scapegoat for the Wild's 2-0 hole, nor should we look at some raw numbers -- Minnesota is 0-4 in games he's started in the playoffs this year and 4-1 in games started by Darcy Kuemper -- and jump to immediate conclusions.

First off, all four of Bryz's starts were on the road. Second, three of those four starts were the worst games Minnesota has played this postseason (Game 2 vs. Colorado and the first two against Chicago). Minnesota, using the benefit of home ice, momentum or both, played much better as a team for Kuemper. He rewarded them with mostly solid play, which shouldn't be ignored, but he was not the main reason they won any of the games he started.

Wild coach Mike Yeo is clearly tired of hearing questions about Bryzgalov, and rightfully so. Let's at least give him a start at home, with his teammates perhaps playing better in front of him, before we reach a final judgment about assessing blame.

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