Lately the Wild newcomer has been known more for his antics than his goaltending.
Here’s what we know about Ilya Bryzgalov, the Wild’s new goaltender:
He revealed years ago during a “24/7” broadcast on HBO that the universe is “humongous big.”
He once compared a dog with blue eyes to “a hot girl.”
He is afraid of bears. At least, as he explained, the ones in the woods.
He once either fell asleep or pretended to fall asleep on the Philadelphia Flyers bench after being pulled while playing for a team that had signed him to a $51 million contract.
Once viewed as merely goofy, he now is widely considered to be problematic, after battling with Flyers coach Peter Laviolette and collapsing under the weight of a contract that led to a Flyers executive calling him a “costly mistake.”
So the question for Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher is this:
What in the humongous big universe were you thinking?
Fletcher has frantically remade the Wild roster during his five years on the job in an effort to rebuild an organization system decimated by Doug Risebrough’s impatience.
Given that he might be without Josh Harding and Niklas Backstrom for the rest of the season, and that he wanted to spend much of his available money on forwards Matt Moulson and Cody McCormick at the trading deadline, he opted for the cheapest veteran option he could find on the market: Bryzgolav.
Most of Fletcher’s moves have been shrewd or understandable. Under the circumstances of the moment, this trade belongs in the latter category.
What doesn’t make sense is that Fletcher willingly started the season relying on two goalies with health problems.
What everyone knew at the end of the 2012-2013 season was that Harding was dealing with multiple sclerosis and that Backstrom had been unable to play in the playoffs because of an injury, yet when Fletcher held his end-of-season news conference, he already sounded adamant about bringing them both back.
So far, he’s been lucky. Harding may have been the best goalie in the NHL during the first half of the season, and Darcy Kuemper, never considered a top prospect, is playing remarkably well now.
Trading a fourth-round pick for a veteran backup goalie isn’t a problem, especially when the economy of that move enabled the addition of a quality player such as Moulson. The problem is that this particular veteran backup goalie doesn’t appear to be someone you would entrust with your season.
Fletcher knew Bryzgalov when they were together in Anaheim. That was a decade ago, before Bryzgalov’s career was defined by his massive contract, goofy quotes and horrid play in Philadelphia.
Bryzgalov whined a lot in Philly, when he wasn’t musing on the insignificance of human life in the cosmos. Thursday, he participated in his first practice with the Wild, then stood in front of the Wild-logo background for one of those obligatory and awkward introductory sessions with the local media.
We wanted him to be funny, or at least passionate about joining a likely playoff team. Bryzgalov, perhaps feeling burned for being more famous for deep thoughts than deep playoff runs, refused to turn on the charm. Like that time on the Flyers bench, he seemed to have trouble keeping his eyes open.
|Carolina||10||2nd Qtr 5:26|
|Detroit||0||2nd Qtr 6:19|
|Oakland||7||2nd Qtr 9:25|
|Arizona||7||2nd Qtr 6:09|
|St. Louis||6||2nd Qtr 4:18|
|TBA||1/3/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/3/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/4/15 2:00 AM|
|TBA||1/4/15 2:00 AM|
|Detroit||40||2nd Qtr 3:44|
|Oklahoma City||6:30 PM|
|New York||8:00 PM|
|Toronto||0||1st Prd 11:50|
|Central Conn St||48||FINAL|
|Long Beach State||67||FINAL|
|South Dakota St||63||FINAL|
|Central Penn College||69||FINAL|
|SE Missouri St||94|
|North Dakota St||83|
|Northwestern St||89||2nd Half 1:28|
|Saint Peters||34||2nd Half 7:08|
|St Katherine||42||2nd Half 8:40|
|Haskell||26||2nd Half 10:56|
|Wake Forest||43||2nd Half 10:44|
|Fla Gulf Coast||35||2nd Half 15:00|
|SD Christian||27||2nd Half 10:44|
|Judson||20||1st Half 1:23|
|Ill-Chicago||12||1st Half 11:53|
|Loyola-Maryland||9||1st Half 13:02|
|Miss Valley St||8||1st Half 14:30|
|Lehigh||4||1st Half 15:02|
|Delaware State||2||1st Half 13:00|
|NW Christian||5:00 PM|
|UC Davis||5:00 PM|
|Abilene Christian||5:00 PM|
|Stony Brook||7:00 PM|
|(15) Arizona State||36||FINAL|
|Texas A&M||12/29/14 1:00 PM|
|Oklahoma||12/29/14 4:30 PM|
|Arkansas||12/29/14 8:00 PM|
|Notre Dame||12/30/14 2:00 PM|
|(13) Georgia||12/30/14 5:45 PM|
|Maryland||12/30/14 9:00 PM|
|(9) Ole Miss||12/31/14 11:30 AM|
|(21) Boise State||12/31/14 3:00 PM|
|(8) Miss State||12/31/14 7:00 PM|
|(10) Georgia Tech|
|(19) Auburn||1/1/15 11:00 AM|
|(7) Michigan State||1/1/15 11:30 AM|
|(16) Missouri||1/1/15 12:00 PM|
|(2) Florida State||1/1/15 4:00 PM|
|(5) Ohio State||1/1/15 7:30 PM|
|Houston||1/2/15 11:00 AM|
|Iowa||1/2/15 2:20 PM|
|(11) Kansas State||1/2/15 5:45 PM|
|Washington||1/2/15 9:15 PM|
|East Carolina||1/3/15 11:00 AM|
|Toledo||1/4/15 8:00 PM|
|(10) Oregon State||63||FINAL|
|William & Mary||56|
|(20) Michigan State||57|
|(24) Green Bay||66||FINAL|
|Miss Valley St||40||FINAL|
|Sam Houston St||46||FINAL|
|(4) Notre Dame||52||2nd Half 15:21|
|Coll of Charleston||38||2nd Half 11:58|
|Alcorn State||32||2nd Half 13:36|
|Dartmouth||62||2nd Half 7:36|
|Michigan||33||2nd Half 11:44|
|Fla Gulf Coast||34||2nd Half|
|(25) Arizona State||34|
|UC Santa Barbara||8||1st Half 11:22|
|Long Island||12||1st Half 10:37|
|Long Beach St||10|
|Jackson State||5||1st Half 14:27|