Briere talks Bryzgalov buyout, goalie's personality

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Briere talks Bryzgalov buyout, goalie's personality

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.”

Philadelphia to host 2016 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony

Philadelphia to host 2016 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony

Philadelphia will host the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Nov. 30.

USA Hockey on Tuesday announced that the Flyers will host the event for the first time.

The 2016 Hall of Fame class includes legendary high school coach Bill Belisle, former NHL forward Craig Janney, and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey team. 

That team featured Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Abington native Mike Richter. It also has a special connection with Philly. The 1996 World Cup of Hockey was the first sporting event played at the CoreStates Center (now the Wells Fargo Center). The U.S. would go on to win the tournament.

“We’re excited to bring the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Celebration to Philadelphia,” Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, said in a statement. “It’s one of our nation’s very top hockey cities, thanks in large part to the decades-long efforts of the late Ed Snider, and fans in the area will enjoy being part of enshrining the Class of 2016. This is always one of the most anticipated events on the calendar each year and we’re grateful for the advance support we’ve received from the Flyers and our Atlantic Affiliate.”

Tuesday also marks 50 days until the Flyers begin their 50th anniversary season. 

Flyers legends Mark Howe, John LeClair to coach All-American Prospects Game in Philadelphia

Flyers legends Mark Howe, John LeClair to coach All-American Prospects Game in Philadelphia

U.S. Hockey Hall of Famers and Flyers legends Mark Howe and John LeClair will go behind the bench next month at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
Both have been selected as head coaches for the 5th annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game here on Sept. 22.
 
This is just one of many events planned at the Wells Fargo Center this season to celebrate the Flyers’ 50th Anniversary.
 
The 7 p.m. faceoff features 42 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2017 NHL draft.
 
Howe and LeClair have combined to represent the U.S. seven times: one Canada Cup, two IIHF World Championships, one World Cup of Hockey and three Olympics. Howe was elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and LeClair’s induction occurred in 2009.

Howe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
 
Tickets for the All-American Prospects Game can be obtained online at  ComcastTIX.com, or by calling 1-800-298-4200, or by visiting the Wells Fargo Center Box office.

Rangers win Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes

Rangers win Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have won the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes.

New York announced Friday it agreed to terms on an entry-level deal with the coveted college free agent.

Vesey was the Hobey Baker Award winner as the NCAA's player of the year last season for Harvard. The 23-year-old forward had 24 goals and 22 assists in 33 games.

Originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 draft, Vesey said he wouldn't sign by the Aug. 15 deadline. The Predators traded his rights to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.

Vesey met with several teams this week and ultimately chose to join the Rangers.