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.”

Flyers reveal 2017 Stadium Series jerseys

Flyers reveal 2017 Stadium Series jerseys

Back in black.

The Flyers on Saturday morning revealed their 2017 Stadium Series jerseys for their Feb. 25 outdoor game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Heinz Field.

With their 50th anniversary sweaters resembling their current away jerseys with gold outlining throughout, the Flyers have gone back to black and orange for the outdoor game.

The jersey is almost all black, with an orange name plate and an orange elbow stripe. Orange is sprinkled throughout the jersey.

In addition to the outdoor game, the Flyers will also wear the jersey against the Penguins on March 15 at the Wells Fargo Center, a Wednesday Night Rivalry game.

Pittsburgh unveiled its Stadium Series jersey back on Nov. 25, an all gold uniform in celebration of its 50th season.

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks, 1-0, in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).