Bryzgalov Finally Speaks in Philly (Quite Well)

Bryzgalov Finally Speaks in Philly (Quite Well)

Ilya Bryzgalov was finally introduced here in Philadelphia and CSN's Marshall Harris got to speak with him one on one following the main presser (which you can watch after the jump). Bryz says he's knows he's the new guy here and when asked about all of the changes the club has made this offseason, he stays focused on what he can control. "I know my job and I know what I have to do," Bryzgalov said.

His English is sharp and his tendency to tell things like they are appear quite high. HIlyae could be a very interesting voice in the Flyers dressing room for years to come.

Some of Bryzgalov's press conference transcript, all of which you can view here:

On why he chose Philadelphia…
“The Flyers goal is always to win the Stanley Cup. That is what this game is all about. Winning is all that matters.”

“I’ve been in the league for eight years and every year I see they
[Flyers] have good players. They always play in the playoffs except one
year. Two years ago the team reached the Final and tried to win the Cup.
When I played in Russia, I followed the NHL too and I saw that the
Flyers were one of the top organizations who always has the ultimate
goal of winning the Cup.”

On initial impressions of skating with the guys…
“I see lots of talent and passion. These guys want to play hockey and win.”
On the pressure of the contract…
“I never put the pressure on myself. I know my job. I know what I have
to do. It’s from you [media]. It’s you that put the pressure on us and
create the pressure on the team. (laughs) It depends on how you can
handle it. I think I can handle it. I know what I have to do when I play
bad. I know what I have to do to fix it.”

On Philadelphia…
“It’s fun; it reminds me of Russia a little bit. It’s very green here –
lots of trees. The downtown area by Rittenhouse Square is a beautiful
area. The people are very friendly. I like it a lot.”

On the contract situation with Phoenix…
“My agent did all of the negotiations. I didn’t know what was going on out there.”

On his agent making the deal…
“He spoke with me this season. He worked with the [Phoenix] ownership
who said that they were going to talk to me and we saw that it wasn’t
going anywhere. At that point, we knew we had to find a different team
for me to play for…a team with the goal of wining the Stanley Cup. With
all due respect to the ownership in Phoenix, it’s tough to do that out
there.”

On getting to know the Flyers organization…
“Nothing has changed. I came to the organization with the same players
who I’ve played against. I’ve met the people in the front office. We’re
all hockey people. We know why we’re here and what we have to do to
win.”

Philly a high quality organization that is top notch…starting with the equipment and the small details.”

Full presser:

Worst loss of the year for excuse-less Sixers against Magic

Worst loss of the year for excuse-less Sixers against Magic

Another new feeling for the rebuilding Sixers: The bad loss with no excuse. For at least one and possibly multiple seasons, there was no real such thing as an inexcusable L, because they were so never the favorite going into any game that their excuse could almost always be "the other team was better." But four wins and one transcendent player into this season, the Ballers actually do need an excuse for dropping a home game against a subpar team by double digits. And if they had one last night in their 105-88 loss to the Orlando Magic, they weren't telling the rest of us.

Really, this game couldn't have been teed up much better for Philly: We were home, well-rested after Wednesday's weird-ass cancellation, against a 7-12 team we nearly beat early in the season, who were on the second night of a back-to-back after ceding a tough one to the Grizzlies -- and we had Joel Embiid for up to 28 minutes. If this one was to be a laugher by early in the fourth quarter, you'd almost have to assume that it'd been the Sixers who put it to bed early. 

Instead, the Sixers slumped horribly from the field in the first quarter, missing bunny after bunny and plenty of open jumpers, as they dug themselves a hole they were never quite able to climb out of. Philly kept it manageable and D.J. Augustin and Nik Vucevic caught fire for Orlando in the third quarter, and the game was suddenly in Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot territory before we could even process what was happening. 

Of course, you can't blame Embiid for this one. Though JoJo was a little out of sorts defensively on this one -- and personally, I really wish he'd stop trapping five feet outside the arc, it may cause panic in the Magic's ball-handlers but it really seems to compromise our own half-court D -- he still finished with a resounding 25-10-4 with three triples, and for the first time in his young career, 0 turnovers. (I coulda swore I saw at least one, but so says the box score, anyway.) Just another game for the Process, though the Sixers (for some reason) needed him to be immaculate last night, and he was merely phenomenal. 

Less phenomenal were the rest of the Sixers' shooters. Our bench in particular was absolutely putrid, going a combined 0-12 from three, with Nik Stauskas's streak of consecutive games with a three snapped at 15 after his scoreless, 0-6 performance. (Five assists for Sauce, at least.) Jahlil posted a dominant stat line of 16 and 13 (on 8-10 shooting) but was again hapless on defense, ending a team-worst -19 for the night. And Dario Saric's slumping continued with a 1-5 shooting outing with no rebounds or assists, likely his worst game of the season. 

It was a surprisingly listless effort from a team that should have looked much sharper, and the most positive non-Joel-related thing to be said about it is that it's (sort of) nice to finally have expectations high enough to have them let down. It'll be a lot harder for Philly to let down tonight against the Celtics, without JoJo, against a pretty good and mostly healthy Boston team. But that's five losses in a row already for the improving Sixers, and it'd be nice to cut off that streak soon, before it starts threatening double digits -- we could certainly do with being done with those for the forseeable future.

No longer feeling like a rookie, Wendell Smallwood more comfortable as lead back

No longer feeling like a rookie, Wendell Smallwood more comfortable as lead back

As the Eagles prepared to face the Green Bay Packers last week, rookie Wendell Smallwood readied himself for a big role.
 
Then he got just nine carries. 
 
It wasn’t that those carries went elsewhere, it was that the Eagles got away from the run game early in the 27-13 loss to the Packers despite being down one score for most of the game. Ultimately, he had half of the team’s carries. 
 
On Friday, head coach Doug Pederson said the disparity in play-calling didn’t have anything to do with having Smallwood as the lead back instead of Ryan Mathews. 
 
“Not really,” Pederson said. “Again, that's something – when I go back ask evaluate after the game – it's something I have to consider more of: Did I run the ball enough or throw the ball enough or not enough or did I do it too much, one way or the other. 
But no, that did not dispel anything, run or pass.”
 
For the second straight week, Mathews is out with an MCL sprain, which means Smallwood is preparing for a bigger role in the offense again. That could also mean his second career start in as many weeks. 
 
Having gone through this process last week has made this week even easier. 
 
“I think I'm very comfortable, more than I was last week,” Smallwood said. “I kind of knew I was going to have a lead role, kind of thinking about a lot, how to play better and take on the load that I was probably going to get. So this week, I think it was kind of natural for me, not really worrying about it.”
 
Smallwood, who was a fifth-round pick out of West Virginia, has 66 carries for 290 yards and one touchdown this season. Smallwood's average of 4.4 yards per attempt is sixth in the league among rookie with at least 60 carries this season. He also has the most rushing yards of any Eagles rookie since Bryce Brown in 2012. 
 
While the Eagles would probably have preferred to use Mathews more this season, the veteran has played just 53 more snaps than Smallwood. 
 
Does Smallwood even feel like a rookie anymore? 
 
“Nah, definitely not, definitely not,” he said with a smile. “Probably after Week 3 I stopped feeling like a rookie. And guys tell me all the time, 'we need you to play, we don't need you to be a rookie right now.' So kind of forced not to be a rookie.”