Thursday, June 16, 2011
Posted: 2:55 p.m. Updated: 9:19 p.m.
By Tim Panaccio
The newest goalie in the Flyers organization made his first appearance at the clubs practice facility on Thursday afternoon.
Ilya Bryzgalov met with Flyers president Peter Luukko, general manager Paul Holmgren and others for almost four hours as part of his whirlwind, two-day meet n greet with the organization.
Bryzgalov and agent Ritch Winter were picked up from their Center City hotel and arrived at Skate Zone shortly before 1 p.m. in assistant GM Barry Hanrahans vehicle. Bryzgalov even stopped to sign an autograph before entering the building.
Luukko, Holmgren and chairman Ed Snider met privately with Bryzgalov late into the evening. Head coach Peter Laviolette also planned on meeting him Thursday evening.
"Spent the day getting to know Ilya and Jeniya. There will be no comment on discussions that are ongoing," Holmgren said in a statement on the Flyers' website.
Though numerous people on both sides of the discussions would not comment, all of them sent CSNPhilly.com an identical, cryptic joke a sign that progress was made and that the participants left the meeting at 6:10 p.m. feeling good about the proceedings.
The fact that the negotiations were so lengthy would seem to be a positive sign that strides are being made toward getting Bryzgalov signed to a long-term deal as a Flyer and fit his salary within the confines of the clubs cap.
Among the first to talk to Bryzgalov was goalie coach Jeff Reese.
He seems like a really pleasant, easy going guy and he has very good perspective on the game, Reese said. If we sign him, I think well be able to get along great. I was impressed with him.
Winter, no stranger to Flyers brass, as he has represented a number of Flyers over the years. The idea is to get Bryzgalov signed before next weeks NHL Draft in Minnesota as the Flyers will need to clear cap space.
Bryzgalov becomes a free agent on July 1. The sooner they sign him, the more flexibility they have to deal players at the draft.
The Flyers acquired the Russians rights on June 7 in a trade with Phoenix.
Winters not an easy guy to deal with, but if there is some give and take on both sides, this will get done, said one observer.
Because of the Phillies matinee at Citizens Bank Park, instead of bringing Bryzgalov over to Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers decided to meet at Skate Zone.
Bryzgalov and Winter are in town through Friday.
The Flyers are being careful not to say much on this.
Recall last summer when they acquired the rights to both Dan Hamhuis and Evgeni Nabokov. They even had a conference call with Hamhuis. By the NHL draft, they ended up dealing Hamhuis rights to Pittsburgh.
Holmgren then upstaged the draft, a second year in succession, with the news the team had acquired Nabokovs rights from San Jose. Yet the talks in the days and weeks ahead went nowhere with agent Don Meehan. Nabokov is now property of the Islanders.
Because of how things played out with two high-end rights acquisitions, the Flyers understandably felt stung. Thats why the club figures to be keeping a low profile here.
Again, however, they would love to announce something before Winter leaves town.
E-mail Tim Panaccio at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TPanotchCSN.
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