In yesterday's preview of the Flyers-Jets game, I said I was happy to see hockey back in Winnipeg. The city had a team throughout my childhood, but lost its club as part of the NHL's migration to warmer climates. While that particular franchise still resides in Phoenix, with Atlanta's Thrashers instead moving to Manitoba's biggest city, a team called the Jets is once again playing in Winnipeg. However, while having hockey franchises in Atlanta and Phoenix wasn't a net win for the league, at least one member of last year's Coyotes squad wanted nothing to do with a possible move up north.
Ilya Bryzgalov made it clear in April that he would not re-sign with the Coyotes franchise if it moved to Winnipeg. Despite the 'Yotes not leaving the desert, Bryz still signed elsewhere, as expected. The people of Winnipeg haven't forgotten his pledge to not play there though, and they were eager for the opportunity to let him hear it yesterday when Bryz's Flyers came to the MTS Center.
Below, a look Bryzgalov's efforts to make amends to the fans in Winnipeg, who had as good a showing as their team on Saturday.
Now, make no mistake—I'm as disappointed as the next Philadelphian that the Flyers lost to the Jets for the second time this season. But I was more than a little happy to hear the sounds of enamored NHL fans giving it to the away team for 60 minutes. Jets fans were loud all afternoon, taunting Sergei Bobrovsky, begging for Ilya, and cheering on their own side.
Their building may not be the largest, with only 15,000 seats, but every one of them was said to be filled. Nice to see, even if the game they were watching had my team getting their asses handed to them.
Here's a look at Bryzgalov doing his part to apologize for his April comments:
Puck Daddy has more on the exchange. Pretty cool story.