Could Ilya Bryzgalov be making the Philadelphia Flyers and the Olympic Russian team regret passing him by to play for their teams? Bryzgalov, who made his starting debut between the pipes for the Edmonton Oilers last night shutting out the Nashville Predators, making his comeback after being a free agent up until earlier this month.
Over the past 5 months Bryzgalov’s professional hockey career has had an uncertain future. The 2013-14 NHL season started as Bryz was still a free agent, after being bought out of his nine- year, $51 million contract after only 2 years between the pipes for the Flyers. A few weeks into the NHL season Bryz got a try-out invitation for the ECHL Las Vegas Wranglers and he took that opportunity saying:
“ ..this is critical for me to be ready for NHL play, and I can’t wait to get on the ice. Everyone’s motivation here is largely driven by an unparalleled passion for the game, and this will offer me a very interesting perspective and be a great opportunity for me to reflect why I started playing this great game in the first place…”
After silently fading into the backdrop, it was not certain when or where Bryzgalov would resurface again. Then, not too long into the Philadelphia’s slow start to their season Bryzgalov resurfaced and on the eve of the Flyers v. Oilers match up. The Edmonton Oilers signed Bryz and although he did not immediately return to the show, he suited up with their AHL affiliate the Oklahoma City Baron’s and is now back in the NHL.
“This is a unique opportunity for me to be an example to my own children, to the young fans who have supported me, to my new teammates, and eventually to the NHL teammates who will come to rely on me again,” Bryzgalov said earlier this season after accepting the Las Vegas Wranglers try-out invitation.
Bryzgalov seems to have taken his career set back in stride and has appeared back in the show earlier than expected. If it was a positive example and legacy he was looking to leave through this experience, he did a good job as he now appears a more humble and approachable Ilya Bryzgalov.
“It’s great to have a shutout…It seems like I never get away,” Bryz expressed after missing a few months of the season, he felt as if he was never gone from the game as he appeared comfortable in goal for the Oilers last night.
Bryz has played 90 minutes of NHL hockey this season and the rest of his story is yet to be written. Bryz shuts out the Predators and his haters last night! Welcome back Bryz!