Briere talks Bryzgalov buyout, goalie's personality

Briere talks Bryzgalov buyout, goalie's personality

June 26, 2013, 9:00 am
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The Flyers used their two compliance buyouts on Ilya Bryzgalov and Danny Briere. (USA Today Images)

Sometimes you have to stand in the skates of someone else to make a call.

Danny Briere understands why the Flyers announced they would use their second compliance buyout Tuesday on goalie Ilya Bryzgalov.

For the same reason they announced last week they were buying him out, as well.

“He has a big cap hit just like myself and the team needed to clear cap space, and maybe they have some moves they want to make,” Briere said.

“It gives them a lot more options moving forward. I think that is the main reason [for the buyout].”

Bryzgalov will save the Flyers $5.67 million against the cap, while Briere will save them $6.6 million. That’s over $12 million off the cap.

Nonetheless, virtually anyone who follows the Flyers feels money wasn’t the only reason Bryzgalov will now depart.

There is widespread belief that his personality, his antics and his outspoken thoughts on every imaginable subject contributed heavily to the club’s decision and has caused rancor in the dressing room.

General manager Paul Holmgren said more than once on Tuesday that he wasn’t bothered by Bryzgalov’s personality, etc.

“I didn’t have an issue with that,” Holmgren said.

Briere said opinions on Bryzgalov varied in the dressing room.

Bryzgalov was a lightning rod for two short seasons, with the fans, the media and even teammates.

Bottom line: Was he liked?

“It was split,” Briere said. “Some guys liked him. Some guys did not like him, but that wasn’t really the issue … I think the Flyers felt it was better for the team moving forward.”

Asked to sum up Bryzgalov in a single word, Briere replied, “Interesting.”

“Goalies are all a little different,” Briere said. “Apart from Marty Biron, who was the most normal one, they all have different personalities and we all saw what Bryz's personality was when “24/7” came on. That was Bryz. At the end of the day, he’s a goalie.

“It’s not the players' fault or right to be bothered by what he says or does. Most of what we do has to be within the team concept. But if you think about it, the goalie is free. He doesn’t have to know what the forecheck or neutral zone trap is. He is on the spotlight every single shot. He has to be aware. Bryz was Bryz.”

HBO’s “24/7” in 2012 -- in Briere’s mind -- represented a turning point for Bryzgalov. His true personality came to life and the world discovered a cosmonaut concealed as an NHL goalie in the series that ran on television.

At the same time, Bryzgalov angered both management and teammates with his pre-Winter Classic theatrics, especially when he announced, “I have great news and even better news.” Then he proceeded to say he wasn’t starting the game against the Rangers and because of such, the Flyers had an even better chance to win the game.

It took the focus away from the game and put it squarely on him. Teammates openly criticized him for that. Then again, that was Bryzgalov.

“Because of what happened on “24/7,” after that he had a lot more attention from the media,” Briere said.

“Media got a lot more interested in him and what he had to say and the fact he was a little different in his thinking. That probably got him in trouble.

“I don’t think it was that his teammates didn’t like him as much after “24/7.” I don’t think that had much to do with it.

“It was just he got a lot more attention and ... brought a lot more attention and pressure to himself.”