Bryz Will Try to Make Philly His Happy Place

Bryz Will Try to Make Philly His Happy Place

After Ilya Bryzgalov allowed three soft goals and was lifted in the second period of an ugly 6-4 Flyers loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins, it was safe to assume there'd be something of note in his post-game comments to reporters. Here's the quote you're likely to see bouncing around the Web for the rest of the weekend:

“You know, I think it’s an easy life when you can blame one guy. ’It’s a bad goalie, it’s the goalie’s mistake.’ It’s easy to find a scapegoat. You point to one guy and say we’re always losing because we have a bad goalie, but I think it’s the wrong philosophy. I know I was frustrated in my game today and I know I have to be better and I will continue to work on this, but I will try to find peace in my soul to play in this city.”

Now, that last sentence may set some Flyers fans into being even more angry with the most quoted Russian currently living in North America. Is he saying we're the problem? Or that playing in a demanding market is the problem? Not good if so, considering no one around here likes that kind of talk, and he's inked to here for eight more seasons.

But maybe... It's exactly what he should be saying? Exactly what he does need to do?

Here's the thing. As long as Bryz plays poorly on the ice, there's really no "right" thing to say after the game. Nothing said in the dressing room will soften the blow of a highly paid player underperforming. That's probably part of the reason the team attempted to limit his exposure earlier this season.

If he says he's lost in the woods, we're worried he's soft and he'll never come out. If he says he doesn't want to talk, people think he's being disrespectful. If he so much as mentions the defense, we paint him as blaming his teammates.

And, if he says he just needs to find peace so he can play better here...

Well, what's the reaction?

Personally, I'm fine with that part of today's response. The rest of his comments did allude to his possibly being a too-easy scapegoat today, a sentiment echoed by his teammates but not shared by most fans, including me.

Increasingly though, I don't care what he says after losses, even if he starts blaming it solely on The700Level. All that matters is his play on the ice, which is obviously not good enough. It's also fairly easy to see that his head is not where it needs to be, whether it's in the mask or not. Today's goals, particularly the first two, were soft, to be kind.

The concern now is, can he get it together this season? If not, what faith should we have beyond that? The scary part about his comment is when you let yourself wonder whether he simply can't play with championship pressure on him.

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

Union emotional after Maurice Edu's season-ending injury

CHESTER, Pa. — On the eve of his comeback after missing nearly 13 months with a left tibia stress fracture and other related injuries, Union midfielder Maurice Edu fractured his left fibula on Saturday, keeping him out for the 2016 playoffs and beyond.

“I was trying to take the shot on goal and my foot got stuck in the turf,” Edu said Sunday, in his blue Union-issued suit and supported by crutches. “My ankle rolled and twisted and it kind of snapped a little bit. I heard it crack, and a lot of pain from there. I got a scan afterward, and there was a break.”

There's no timetable his return.

Edu, 30, has spent over a calendar year fighting various injuries that have kept him out of game action. His trouble began on Sept. 30, 2015, when he played through the U.S. Open Cup final with a partially torn groin and sports hernia. It was during Edu’s recovery from those injuries that he developed a stress fracture.

"A little bit frustration. A lot of frustration, to be honest," he said. "But all I can do now is get back to work, focus on the positives and make sure that my situation isn’t a distraction from the team."

Edu’s teammates were equally devastated by the news. Edu, the Union captain when healthy, is popular and well-respected in the locker room.

"I feel so bad for him," said Alejandro Bedoya, who wore a dedication to Edu under his jersey on Sunday. "He’s one of my good friends, so I was looking forward to playing alongside him. I know how hard he’s worked to get back, and to see him go out like that, it’s heartbreaking. I’m sad for his loss and I hope he stays strong."

Edu, who has been with the Union since 2014, returned to training in July and played three conditioning appearances with the Union’s USL team, Bethlehem Steel FC. He was on the bench for the Union’s last three games and was set to make his first appearance in over a year against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, a game the Union eventually lost, 2-0 (see game story).

"We’re gutted for Mo," Union manager Jim Curtin said. "He was slated to start today. It’s real upsetting because he’s worked so hard to get back on the field. It’s been a tough 2016 for him, but I know he’ll come back stronger."

While he was visibly shaken by recent injury, Edu is driven to return.

"What happened, happened," Edu said. "I have no control over that. The only thing I do have control over is my next steps from here, how I prepare myself mentally and emotionally and how I continue to support this group."

Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

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Temple picked to finish 6th in AAC preseason poll

This is starting to become a trend. One Temple hopes to continue to prove wrong.

For the third straight year, Temple was chosen to finish sixth in the American Athletic Conference preseason poll. The poll, which was released on Monday, is voted on by the conference's head coaches.

Also selected to finish sixth last season, the Owls posted a 21-12 overall record and a 14-4 mark in the AAC to reach the NCAA Tournament. In 2014-15, TU tied for third in the AAC with a 13-5 record and was one of the last teams left out of the Big Dance.

Cincinnati was tabbed to win the American title in the poll, just ahead of UConn.

Temple, who returns three starters from last season's team, opens the 2016-17 campaign against city rival La Salle at the Liacouras Center on Nov. 11.