Ilya Bryzgalov has been accused of being a lot of things -- flaky, cosmonaut-inspired, lost in the woods, etc. -- but no one ever said he was a narcoleptic.
The Flyers' flagship radio station, 97.5 The Fanatic, reported on Wednesday that Bryzgalov was benched in Long Island for falling asleep in a team meeting.
The report came from Tony Bruno and Harry Mayes.
“No, that’s completely incorrect,” head coach Peter Laviolette said.
Though the Daily News quoted sources saying the Flyers' goalie did, indeed, "doze off," a team source vehemently denied the suggestion, saying that someone is trying to plant things in the media with the intention of hurting the club. This source said Bryzgalov was legitimately tired, and if there were other reasons for him to not play Tuesday, none were because he was sleeping, because he was not.
Multiple sources connected to the club also denied Bryzgalov was sleeping.
"It's simply not true," said Flyers president Peter Luukko. "The guy was bone-tired and needed a rest."
Flyer veteran Mike Knuble was floored by the report.
“Not unless they’re narcoleptic,” Knuble said, laughing. “You hardly even sat down. I don’t think your [butt] made your spot on the bench warm enough. That’s silly, that’s asinine. You’re sitting in a bright room, in the middle of the day. It’s not like you’re locked into a film session for 45 minutes. Then I might see it. But not for half a cup of coffee meeting. Not even that.”
Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who is the longest-tenured member of the team’s leadership group, emphatically denied it, as well.
“That’s not true and I’ll tell you that on the record,” Timonen said. “And that’s it. If you want to ask more, ask Lavy (Peter Laviolette). That’s not my business to tell you what happened and didn’t happen. He wasn’t sleeping. What a scoop! Have you ever seen anyone sleeping in a meeting? In the NHL, have you ever heard of anyone sleeping during a meeting? There’s a scoop.”
Forward Wayne Simmonds also denied the report.
“I did not see him sleeping at a team meeting,” Simmonds said.
While players denied seeing Bryzgalov sleep during a team meeting, there was footage of him on the bench Saturday during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets in which he appeared to yawn.
Ruslan Fedotenko, who won a Stanley Cup in Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh, said he’s never seen a player fall asleep in his career.
“Who fell asleep?” Fedotenko asked. Told it was allegedly Bryzgalov, he replied, “I don’t know where that report came from, but nobody fell asleep when I was at the meetings. I don’t know if they had an individual meeting, but not the team meetings. That’s a bad rumor. I can speak for meetings, I was there and no one fell asleep.”
Fedotenko also said the Flyers meetings weren’t long enough to tire anyone out.
General manager Paul Holmgren also denied any knowledge of Bryzgalov falling asleep in a team meeting.
“We (Holmgren and Laviolette) talk on a daily basis. I knew what he planned to do. Ilya was tired. Obviously, he’s played a lot of games, a lot of minutes for us. I actually thought it was a good idea. Get a look at Steve. I had no issues.
“He wasn’t benched. ... We got two goalies. I guess it was Mason’s turn to use Freddy Shero’s comment.”