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Confusing Quantity with Quality: Ilya Bryzgalov's First Half

Confusing Quantity with Quality: Ilya Bryzgalov's First Half

On last night's NBC pregame show, Mike Milbury referred to Ilya Bryzgalov as the Flyers' "rock." He did so after being asked a leading question about how well the goaltender had played through 23 games.

Bryzgalov's most recent outing to date had been a 2-1 win over the Senators during which he made 34 saves. On Tuesday night, he let up four goals en route to a 4-2 Flyers loss to the Rangers.

But Tuesday's performance does little to change his overall numbers, which is the reason we're having this conversation.

Bryzgalov has been labeled in print, on air and even by his teammates for much of the 2012-13 campaign as the most consistent Flyer. It's just that everyone seems to looking at consistency the wrong way. Bryz hasn't been consistently good so much as he's just been consistently in net.

To date, only one team has played as many games as the Flyers' 24, and that's the Buffalo Sabres. Since Bryzgalov has only sat two games, that ties him with Ryan Miller for the most games played by a goaltender this year (22). Bryz sits atop or near the top of all the lists that have to do with sheer quantity: games, wins, loses, TOI, goals allowed, saves made, total shots faced, etc.

But the numbers related to his actual quality of play plummet him down the list. If we remove goaltenders who haven't played at least 10 games so far — making Ray Emery the cutoff — Bryzgalov is 22nd in goals against average (2.68) and 26th in save percentage (.903).

The latter number is particularly worrying, because even though Bryzgalov has faced the third-most total shots in the league, the Flyers give up the eight-fewest attempts on goal per game (27.4). It's also kind of odd, considering how many breakdowns the Flyers seem to have at their own blue line.

They don't give up many chances, but some of those they do surrender tend to result in spectacular opportunities for their opponents. Exacerbating that issue is just how weak Bryzgalov seems to be one-on-one. Stopping the occasional breakaway and moving laterally is part of the job description.

Heading back to Miller — who, once again, is the only goalie to play as
many games — he owns a 2.83 GAA (worse than Bryz) and a .914 save
percentage (better than Bryz). The difference: Miller has faced 146 more
shots; Buffalo allows the third-most shots on goal in the league
(33.2), 5.8 more than the Flyers.

In his defense, Bryzgalov hasn't been the problem this year, the breakdowns aren't his fault, the Flyers don't have any better option, and it's possible fatigue has contributed to his below-average statistics.

But it's not unfair to compare him to Ryan Miller, just as it isn't unfair to compare him to goalies with lesser workloads. Because if Bryzgalov requires help in order to be the goaltender the Flyers need him to be — whether it's another defenseman or a different backup goaltender — these are the evaluations that need to be made before the trade deadline or during the next offseason.

It's not enough just to stick him in goal and hope his contract is going to stop the puck.

CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

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CSNPhilly Internship - Advertising/Sales

Position Title: Intern
Department: Advertising/Sales
Company: Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia
# of hours / week: 10 – 20 hours

Deadline: November 20

Basic Function

This position will work closely with the Vice President of Sales in generating revenue through commercial advertisements and sponsorship sales. The intern will gain first-hand sales experience through working with Sales Assistants and AEs on pitches, sales-calls and recapping material.

Duties and Responsibilities

• Assist Account Executive on preparation of Sales Presentations
• Cultivate new account leads for local sales
• Track sponsorships in specified programs
• Assist as point of contact with sponsors on game night set up and pre-game hospitality elements.
• Assist with collection of all proof of performance materials.
• Perform Competitive Network Analysis
• Update Customer database
• Other various projects as assigned

Requirements

1. Good oral and written communication skills.
2. Knowledge of sports.
3. Ability to work non-traditional hours, weekends & holidays
4. Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment
5. Must be 19 years of age or older
6. Must be a student in pursuit of an Associate, Bachelor, Master or Juris Doctor degree
7. Must have unrestricted authorization to work in the US
8. Must have sophomore standing or above
9. Must have a 3.0 GPA

Interested students should apply here and specify they're interested in the ad/sales internship.

About NBC internships

J.J. Redick once impressed Ryan Howard with his baseball skills

J.J. Redick once impressed Ryan Howard with his baseball skills

Philadelphia 76ers talk is coming.

Members of the Philly media are meeting with Brett Brown today for their yearly before-the-season lunch. Then, next week, Sixers media day will be here.

That means Sixers' news will be coming at you fast like an undead snow bear messing up Thoros of Myr.

We got a nice little primer for that today when the Inquirer's Bob Ford wrote a wonderful read on the friendship between new Sixer J.J. Redick and one of Philly's all-time favorite basketballers in Jameer Nelson.

Nelson was with the Orlando Magic when Redick got drafted as an over-confident shooter out of Duke. He showed him the ropes and the two bonded over work ethic and a desire for honesty.

It's a really good read to get to know both players more closely. And hints at some of the reasons the Sixers went out and spent big money on Redick this offseason.

“It’s not always easy to talk to peers and tell them what they need to do,” Nelson says. “But he wanted to learn, wanted to get better. It’s a competition and it’s not for everyone. You don’t always find guys like that.”

“Something both of them have in common is honesty,” Van Gundy says. “Neither one is afraid of honesty. They were easy to coach because they liked to be told the truth, and they weren’t afraid to tell you the truth, either to a coach or another teammate. You never had to wonder what’s going on with this guy or anything else.”

Will Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz be receptive to hearing the truth, perhaps when it's not the easiest to handle? Sounds like J.J. is going to be telling it.

There's a fun nugget about how those Orlando Magic teams used to bond back in the day by Nelson bringing his teammates up to Philly for a week at a time during the offseason to play ball, but also to have fun off the court, like on the paintball field or at a Phillies game.

“My favorite one was a paintball competition,” Redick says. “We drove about an hour outside the city and divided up into teams and we went at it. That was a blast. Another time we went to the Phillies and took batting practice with the team. And the whole week, you’re riding together to workouts or just spending time, and you’re sort of out of your element, so you open up. I’d also mention that I had, by far, the best swing on the team. Ryan Howard told me that I looked like the only person on the entire team that had actually played baseball.”

Basketball is back soon and it'll be fun to watch J.J. play the mentoring role this time around.

>>How Jameer Nelson helped make J.J. Redick an NBA player, and got a friend in return [Philly.com]

From last night- father/son time at the ballpark ⚾️🏟.

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