Flyers sign Bryzgalov to 9-year, 51 million deal

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Flyers sign Bryzgalov to 9-year, 51 million deal

Thursday, June 23, 2011
Posted: 4:55 p.m. Updated: 10:14 p.m.
By Sarah BaickerCSNPhilly.com
Really, it was only a matter of time.

After days of rumors, reports and denials, the Flyers have finally inked goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov to a nine-year deal worth 51 million.

Ilya is one of the top, upper-echelon goalies in the league, general manager Paul Holmgren said. In bringing him in, he does give us stability. We still have young guys we think a world of who can grow with our team. Well see how that goes. By adding Ilya and maintaining the defense we had last year, we think were in a good spot.

Though the actual deal doesn't come as a surprise the general sense from both the Flyers and Bryzgalov's agent Ritch Winter in recent days was that an eventual agreement was expected it is a bit heftier than the seven-year dear originally reported earlier this week.

Bryzgalov, according to CapGeek.com, will earn 10 million in the first year of the deal next season, making him, as of now, the highest paid player in the NHL.

And what the Flyers gave up to make the long-term deal possible Jeff Carter and Mike Richards came as a shock.

When we made the deal to get negotiating rights to Ilya, it put the wheels in motion with a lot of teams, Holmgren said. We fielded a lot of calls from teams over the last 10 days."

The newly 31-year-old Bryzgalov (his birthday was Wednesday) appeared in 68 games last season, posting a 2.48 goals-against average and a .921 save percentage. He had seven shutouts (the Flyers had none).

His postseason performance, however, did leave something to be desired. Bryzgalovs Phoenix Coyotes were swept in the first round of the playoffs by the Detroit Red Wings, and Bryzgalovs goals-against average plummeted to 4.36.

Bryzgalov is a former runner-up for the Vezina Trophy, however (in 2009-10) and was the backup to J.S. Giguere in 2007 when the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup. Hes played with both Chris Pronger and Sean ODonnell.

The Flyers acquired the rights to negotiate with Bryzgalov on June 7, sending left wing Matt Clackson, a third-round draft pick in 2012, plus another conditional pick to Phoenix.

The Flyers then began negotiations with the top-tier goalie in earnest, having until July 1 to strike a deal or else risk losing Bryzgalov to free agency Bryzgalov made just one trip to Philadelphia, but all along it appeared as though a deal were imminent.

When we acquired his rights we had every intention of signing him, Holmgren said.

The Flyers and Bryzgalov first held meetings on June 16. As recently as Wednesday of this week the Flyers said a deal with Bryzgalov was still a work in progress if not a while away but rumors that a seven-year deal worth about 7 million a year was to be expected.

The big question now, of course, is what happens to young goalie Sergei Bobrovsky, who will enter his sophomore year with the team.

Bobrovsky, 22, wowed the Flyers from the very beginning of last season, forcing them to keep him in the NHL instead of sending him to the Adirondack Phantoms of the AHL to gain North American experience. Though his performance fell off a bit as the season progressed, and certainly did so in the playoffs, Bobrovsky proved he can play at a high level.

In addition, Bobrovsky and Bryzgalov are both Russian which could absolutely benefit Bobrovskys continued maturation and acclimation to the NHL.

But playing behind a veteran workhorse who can easily handle 60-plus games per season means Bobrovskys playing time would be drastically cut. Last year, his rookie year, he played in 54 games.

Will 20 or so games a season be enough to help Bobrovsky grow into the player the Flyers hope hell become? Or could Bob be the next Flyer offered up on the trading block?

We like him as a good young goalie in our league, Holmgren said. What it does to him, I am not sure. We like him. Our intention is to have him and Ilya as our goaltending tandem.

E-mail Sarah Baicker at sbaicker@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SBaickerCSN.
Related: Five questions that remain for the new-look Flyers A look at the three players acquired by the Flyers

NHL Notes: Desperate Senators hoping to avoid elimination

NHL Notes: Desperate Senators hoping to avoid elimination

OTTAWA, Ontario -- Guy Boucher has typically kept his team off the ice on off-days during the postseason. Not Monday.

The Ottawa coach opted for a half-hour practice ahead of Game 6 on Tuesday night to help his team "refresh" and "reload" after a 7-0 beating by Pittsburgh, one of the worst losses in team playoff history. Players thought the practice, as well as an encouraging chat beforehand, helped wipe the slate clean as they prepare for an elimination game. The Penguins lead the Eastern Conference final 3-2 and can return to the Stanley Cup Final with a win.

"We can't be sitting in our mud puddle," Boucher told The Canadian Press after practice. "We've got to get up and go."

Reloading against an opponent vying for back-to-back Stanley Cups means reverting back to strengths of the club. In Sunday's blowout loss, Boucher said, he thought his team tried to trade goals with the high-scoring Penguins -- an odd choice for a Senators team that thrives on shutting down opponents.

"If we stay away from our strengths there's no chance," Boucher said on Monday. "We're aware of that. We got slapped -- hard enough. The reality sets back in" (see full story).

NHL: Former All-Star Bill White dies at 77
CHICAGO -- Bill White, a former Chicago Blackhawks all-star defenseman and a member of Canada's 1972 Summit Series team, has died. He was 77.

The Blackhawks announced White's death Monday.

White, a Toronto native, started his career with the Los Angeles Kings in 1967 before being traded to Chicago during the 1969-70 season. He formed an imposing tandem on the Blackhawks' blue line with Pat Stapleton and helped the team reach the playoffs in all seven of his seasons in Chicago.

He appeared in six consecutive All-Star games between 1969 and 1974 and briefly served as head coach of the Blackhawks for the final 46 games of the 1976-77 season.

White finished his career with 50 goals, 215 assists and 495 penalty minutes in 604 NHL games with Los Angeles and Chicago, adding seven goals and 32 assists in 91 playoff appearances.

"The Chicago Blackhawks organization extends its thoughts and heartfelt condolences to Bill White's family as we mourn his loss," the team said. "He will be remembered as a leader, generous teammate and tough player to play against. His energetic style helped the Blackhawks see great success during his tenure with the team."

He joined Canada's squad for the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union after Game 1, finishing with a series-best plus-7 defensive rating while acting as a key part of Canada's penalty-killing unit.

Sweden beats Canada to win 2017 IIHF World Championships

Sweden beats Canada to win 2017 IIHF World Championships

COLOGNE, Germany -- Sweden won the ice hockey world championship with a 2-1 victory on penalties over two-time defending champion Canada on Sunday.

Sweden goaltender Henrik Lundqvist stopped three penalties and Ryan O'Reilly hit the post for Canada, as Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored shootout goals for the Swedes to win their first title since 2013.

The game ended 1-1 after overtime when both sides came close to ending the contest with a "sudden death" goal only to be denied by outstanding goalkeeping.

Lundqvist and Canada counterpart Calvin Pickard, who saved William Nylander's first penalty for Sweden, were named best players by their respective teams after a game in which the Canadians narrowly outshot their opponents 43-42.

"This is how close it should be when you get to the final game," Sweden head coach Rikard Gronborg said. "It's a huge win for Swedish hockey."

Lundqvist's twin brother Joel, who captained Sweden, claimed his third worlds gold, one of only two Swedes ever to do so after Sven Tumba in 1953, 1957 and 1962.

"They're both really good guys," Swedish forward Joakim Nordstrom said of the Lundqvist brothers. "On the ice, they really bring a lot to our team but off it too, their presence in the locker room, it's been huge for our team. Joel is a terrific captain."

Sweden claimed its first win over Canada in the final after defeats in 1997, 2003, and 2004.

"It feels like the curse is broken," said Marcus Kruger, who had lost worlds and Olympic finals with Sweden before.

The respect between the sides was evident from the off as defenses held firm in the opening two periods.

The breakthrough came against the odds, with Backstrom penalized for slashing, when Victor Hedman scored short-handed with 20.8 seconds left in the second period.

It was a strange goal from distance as the defenseman just lifted the puck and it somehow bounced in through Pickard's legs. Joel Lundqvist's presence may have distracted the Canadian goaltender.

"It was a fluke goal," Kruger said.

Canada had twice as many shots in the second period.

O'Reilly equalized when he scrambled the puck in off a rebound from Mitch Marner.

It was tense, and fans were left gasping as the action swung from end to end.

Nate MacKinnon missed a good chance to clinch the win for Canada on a power play before overtime when both goaltenders maintained their exceptional form.

Henrik Lundqvist, who was a late addition to Gronborg's roster after the New York Rangers' elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs, ultimately proved the hero.

"He's been great since he came in here. We know what his track record is like. He's a winner and he really showed that today, overall in the game and especially in the shootout, too," Kruger said.

MacKinnon, Brayden Point, O'Reilly and Mitch Marner all missed their shots.

Canada coach Jon Cooper, who said he was immensely proud of his team's effort, was gracious in defeat.

"I want to congratulate Sweden. They were an exceptional team, it was a lot of fun to play them," Cooper said.

"If we were going to lose to somebody, I'm glad those guys won."

Earlier, Nikita Kucherov sealed a 5-3 win for Russia in the bronze medal match against Finland.

"It's not the medal we wanted," Russia head coach Oleg Znarok said.