Edmonton Oilers GM heard Ilya Bryzgalov is a ‘terrible’ person

Edmonton Oilers GM heard Ilya Bryzgalov is a ‘terrible’ person

Ilya Bryzgalov is back in the NHL after a brief conditioning stint with the Edmonton Oilers’ AHL affiliate. It’s somewhat surprising it happened so fast. Little more than a month ago, Bryz was being courted by an ECHL franchise.

Then again, I suppose Edmonton isn’t much better. The Oilers have a 5-15-2 record this season, good for the second-lowest point total in the league. And in the stacked Western Conference, it will be difficult to make up that ground.

Oilers GM and former Philadelphia Flyer Craig MacTavish is excited about the addition nonetheless, and according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, “The goalie battle is now officially on in Edmonton.” Good luck with that.

MacTavish must’ve heard about the killer party Philly threw when the organization bought out Bryz’s contract, because he admitted there was some trepidation before signing. The Oilers GM took some time to inquire about the cosmonaut’s reputation before putting ink to paper, and not surprisingly the responses were all over the spectrum.

"We did homework in terms of the character," said MacTavish. "You hear both ends of the spectrum. You heard people say, 'He's a good guy, he's not a problem, he's going to be very easy to work with.' Then you also heard, 'He's a terrible guy.' I've never seen this varied an opinion on a guy. Normally people focus in on the same conclusion. But this was quite different."

"Everybody likes an underdog story, and he can quickly get into that position here," said MacTavish. "He's a colorful character. If he plays well, he's got a chance to really resurrect his image and his game. There's a lot on the line. It probably won't be seamless, but he's got a chance.

I don’t know about you, but I’d put more weight in “terrible person” than “good guy.” It just seems more honest.

Or you could simply go by the fact that Bryzgalov’s previous employer paid $23 million to be rid of him.

MacTavish was quick to point out that signing Bryz didn’t cost his team much, and with his club’s season already circling the drain, he probably figured they had nothing to lose.

For what it’s worth, Bryz didn’t have much to say about his two-year stint with Philadelphia when he met the Edmonton press corps. Then again, the Flyers are paying him $23 million over the next 14 years to play hockey wherever he wants, so Bryz probably feels very content right now.

>> Oilers’ goalie competition heating up [ESPN]

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

Maikel Franco day to day with sore wrist

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco, who was hit on the left wrist by a pitch on Friday night, is not in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates (see lineup).

Franco was hit by a pitch from the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole in the first inning of the Phillies’ 4-0 victory then was removed after hitting a single in the third inning (see story).

“He’s still sore,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Saturday. “He’s day to day. Maybe he will be back in the lineup (Sunday).

Franco suffered a fracture of the same wrist last August when he was hit by a pitch.

Andres Blanco is taking Franco’s place in the lineup after having two hits Friday night when he replaced the third baseman. Blanco is hitting .264 with three home runs in 73 games this season and is reportedly drawing some interest from contending teams looking to add bench help.

“I could see why he would be a desirable player,” Mackanin said. “We’re not going to give him away, though, if we do trade him. He’s played very well for us.”

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

Source: Brayden Schenn spurns Flyers' 2-year offer, wants $5.5 million

It looks like the Flyers and Brayden Schenn are heading towards arbitration. 

A source tells CSNPhilly.com Flyers Insider Tim Panaccio that the Flyers and Schenn's camp are at odds over the salary of Schenn's next contract.

Schenn turned down a two-year deal worth $4.25 million in the first year and $4.369 million in the second, according to the source, noting that Schenn is looking for a deal that would pay him $5.5 million this upcoming season.

Schenn is coming off a career year, setting career highs in goals (26) and points (59), and is now looking to cash in on his best season. Last season, Schenn earned $2.75 million.

General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he believes a deal will get done, but at the moment nothing looks imminent.

Schenn's arbitration hearing is scheduled for Monday.

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

Today's Lineup: Andres Blanco in, Maikel Franco out after HBP last night

After being hit on the wrist by a pitch in Friday's win (see story), Maikel Franco will not play today. Instead, Andres Blanco will take his place, hitting third in the lineup. Blanco was 2 for 2 replacing Franco in the third inning on Friday, with an RBI and a run scored. 

Blanco has been reliable when called upon this season, hitting .264 with a .317 OBP in mostly a utility role.

Other than that, the lineup remains the same as Friday.

Peter Bourjos will leadoff after going 0 for 5 last night, followed by Odubel Herrara. After an All-Star first half, Herrara has hit .211 in July, but seemed to get back on track with three hits on Friday, while scoring two runs. 

After a brutal stretch of games and an extended All-Star break, Aaron Nola returned to form vs. the Marlins last week, tossing six shutout innings. Nola again looks to prove the doubters wrong again today vs. the Pirates, who he has never faced in his brief career. 

Here is tonight's lineup:

1. Peter Bourjos RF
2. Odubel Herrera CF
3. Andres Blanco 3B
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Cameron Rupp C
6. Cody Asche LF
7. Freddy Galvis SS
8. Cesar Hernandez 2B
9. Aaron Nola P