'Exhausted' Bryzgalov says he doesn't need a break

'Exhausted' Bryzgalov says he doesn't need a break

February 22, 2013, 3:30 pm
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Ilya Bryzgalov has played more minutes – 9:54:24 – than any goaltender in the NHL.

But, he told Michael Barkann on 94WIP Friday morning, he doesn’t need a break. Not even after Thursday’s ugly performance against the Florida Panthers, in which he allowed four goals on 15 shots and was pulled in favor of backup Brian Boucher.

“No, I don't have that luxury,” Bryzgalov said. “We gotta do what you gotta do. We gotta give our best every night. ... We always try to give our best, but you gotta understand sometimes, we're not like machines, you know, sometimes we're tired.”

Bryzgalov has started 17 games this season, more games than 17 teams in the NHL have played. The Panthers affair was the second time he was pulled this season, less than 24 hours after the Flyers’ 6-5 win over Pittsburgh, in which he also started.

He looked – and played – like he was very tired.

“I feel exhausted, and I’m pretty sure my team feels the same way because it’s a crazy schedule,” Bryzgalov said. “Lots of travel, lots of games, lots of back-to-back games and sometimes it’s just tough to find the energy and emotions to play some games, even when you know it’s a very important game. But nothing is left inside you because you need some time to regroup.”

The Flyers haven’t had much time to regroup. They have played 19 games – three or four more than the rest of the Atlantic Division. They are the only Eastern Conference team to have played more than 18 games, and six of them have been played on the second-half of back-to-backs.

Looking ahead to March, the Flyers’ season doesn’t get much easier.

“I realized watching the schedule, oh, my God. For [about] 31 days we played 19 games,” Bryzgalov said. “Nineteen. It’s a lot. Usually during the normal season, you play a maximum amount of full month games, like, 15. That’s a four-game difference, and 12 of them were played on the road.”

At 8-10-1, the Flyers currently sit at fourth in their division and 10th in their conference – out of playoff contention. Each time they seem poised to raise their record above .500 or put together a winning streak, they’ve taken a step back. That’s something they’re trying hard to rectify with the halfway mark of the season approaching.

“Nobody wants to lose,” Bryzgalov said. “It's not fun to lose. … Do you think it's fun to lose? No, we don't want to lose. We want to win, but sometimes you just can't because you're tired. The bounces aren't going your way.”

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