Page 3 of 3 Previous

Continued: Wild pins playoff hopes on Bryzgalov

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Last update: April 17, 2014 - 4:20 PM

“To me, that ‘24/7,’ he lost all his focus and he never got it back. And once you lose it in Philly — let’s be honest, Philly’s market is not Minny — you start to fight the crowd, fight the media, fight the puck. He didn’t even look like the same guy.”

After the Flyers missed the playoffs last year, Philadelphia used one of its compliance buyouts to rid itself of the final seven years of Bryz- galov’s contract. He will receive more than $1.63 million from Philadelphia in each of the next 14 years.

Wild rescue

Bryzgalov couldn’t find a job last summer. He latched on with the Oilers in November. When the Wild needed goalie insurance before the trade deadline, General Manager Chuck Fletcher traded a fourth-round pick for him.

Fletcher, a former executive with the Ducks, felt comfortable because he knows the player and the person. And whatever past teammates might think of Bryzgalov, Wild teammates genuinely seem to love him.

“When I came here, they were welcoming very, very warmly,” Bryzgalov said. “They helped me in all possible ways to get adopted to the new team. We have some great group of guys, great leadership. The team is very united. Besides just good players, they’re good people.”

Bryzgalov keeps the locker room loose. The night before that April 7 shutout at Winnipeg, Bryzgalov dined with teammates at a steakhouse next to the team hotel. As Bryzgalov held court, players were howling.

“The fun that he’s brought, the attitude he’s brought, has been great,” Parise said. “You really want to win for him. You see how excited he got after the shootout win [over Boston that clinched the West’s top wild-card spot] and how excited he is when we win, you really want to play well in front of him.”

System goalie

Bryzgalov has played best on teams with little pressure and strong defensive structures (Anaheim, Phoenix), so he has melded well into the Wild. The Wild averaged 25 shots against in his 11 starts.

Now, the player who has been so widely ridiculed, the player who almost found himself out of the league last summer, has the Wild’s playoff hopes planted on his broad shoulders.

In 2006, the year before the Ducks won the Cup, Bryzgalov played 11 playoff games. He posted a 1.46 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. It was Bryzgalov, not Giguere, who held the Wild to four goals in Games 1 through 3 of the 2007 first round.

But there have been past playoff implosions with Bryzgalov, so that’s the great unknown going into the postseason.

Which goaltender will Wild fans witness? The happy-go-lucky, confident Bryzgalov who was so good his first 10 Wild starts? Or the Bryz- galov who looked like he was napping in the regular-season finale against Nashville by falling down outside the crease before one goal, then giving up three on three shots in two minutes later on?

Considering what Bryzgalov has been through the past few years, this can become a great leaguewide story if Bryzgalov can backstop the Wild out of Round 1 against the fast, explosive Avalanche.

“Just the veteran presence back there, it’s nice,” Suter said. “We’ve had a lot of change, and every goalie who has played has been great, but Bryz does bring that extra confidence. It’s good having him back there.

“Winning heals everything, and it brings guys closer together. That’s just the biggest thing. You win, you have confidence in him and you trust him.”





 

  • related content

  • Video: Russo: Wild-Avalanche series preview

    Thursday April 17, 2014

    Game 1 between the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche takes place on Thursday night in Denver. The Star Tribune's...

  • Read the replay: Wild Chat with Michael Russo

    Thursday April 17, 2014

    See what Michael Russo was talking about with Wild fans during their Thursday afternoon Live Chat.

  • Scoggins: Wild's No. 7 seed offers shot to overachieve

    Thursday April 17, 2014

    If playoff seedings matter, the Wild technically begins its first-round series against the Colorado Avalanche as an underdog. If common sense is applied, the Minnesota absolutely has a good chance.

  • Avalanche notes: MacKinnon hopes to have fun

    Thursday April 17, 2014

    Colorado's Nathan MacKinnon is the presumptive Calder Trophy winner after leading all rookies in assists (39) and points (63).

  • Chart: Wild vs. Colorado at a glance

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    nhl western conferencefirst roundNo. 2 Colorado Avalanche Vs. No. 7 Minnesota WildGame 1: Thursday, at Colorado, 8:30 p.m., FSNGame 2:...

  • Wild's goalie shuffle

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    wild’s goalie shuffleJosh Harding led the NHL in goals-against average (1.65) and saves percentage (.933), but he played in only...

  • Wild notes: Suter will get extra attention from Avs

    Thursday April 17, 2014

    Ryan Suter, who played more minutes than any NHLer the past two seasons, will be a marked man this playoff series

  • Scouting the Wild

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    key playersIlya BryzgalovBluntly, the positional goalie must stand and deliver. The Avs are loaded with firepower, so he is going...

  • Scouting the Avalanche

    Wednesday April 16, 2014

    key playersNathan MacKinnon ‚The dynamic, lightning-fast forward has a shot that explodes off his stick and is Colorado’s most formidable...

  • Ilya Bryzgalov egged on the Winnipeg crowd by waving his arms to the taunting “Il-ya, Il-ya’’ chant. Of course, a 24-save shutout added to his fun.

  • Wild goalie Ilya Bryzgalov

  • nhl playoffs ’14 first round

    Wild vs. Colorado Game 1 • 8:30 p.m. Thursday • Pepsi Center, Denver • TV: FSN (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: C. Wilson 5
Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr. 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Doolittle 1
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 5 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 2
Tampa Bay 9/18/14 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 9/18/14 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which local pro team are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close