Ilya Bryzgalov is back in his native Russia, running a summer goaltending school for aspiring hockey players.
Bryzgalov caught up with Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov for an open and intriguing offseason interview, which was translated and published by Yahoo’s Puck Daddy blog. Bryzgalov opened up about his lockout plans, his upcoming season in Philadelphia, and his relationships with Jaromir Jagr, Claude Giroux and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Here is a quick excerpt, but head on over to Puck Daddy for the full Q & A session:
Sovetsky Sport: Did you recover from the season that you called the worst of your career in a memorable interview with Sovetsky Sport?
Bryzgalov: “I would like to clarify — the most "mixed" season. I did have stretches where I had shutouts, when I was showing the stats like in Phoenix, when everyone praised me. Philadelphia made it to the second round of the Stanley Cup… You can find the positives. But my personal rating is that I am not happy with the season.
“I would like to thank fans who fairly criticized me. I got to know the Philadelphia media. This is an invaluable experience that will certainly help me. But I cannot say that I have 'sport rage' now and the next season I will show who the real Bryzgalov is! I set certain goals for myself and I will work to reach them. Otherwise you can do so much bad if you're filled with emotions.”
SS: Did you hear about the conditions the NHL and club owners proposed in the new negotiations? To cut player share of the revenues from 57 to 46%, cut the maximum term of contracts to 5 years, get rid of signing bonuses… Your reaction?
Bryzgalov: “That's some impudence. I would only answer for myself — this variant is not acceptable. But maybe one of the players will be happy [and say] 'Wow! Great terms!’”
SS: Are you actively participating in the negotiations?
Bryzgalov: "[Scott] Hartnell and [Braydon] Coburn are representing Philadelphia in the negotiations. I don't go to those meetings. I have two young children, a goalie school, I need to get ready for the next season… There's no time for that in the summer."
SS: What terms would be acceptable for you?
Bryzgalov: "Let them keep things as they are now. But we need to put a fixed cap on escrow. For example, no more than 10 percent. I am talking about the insurance fund of the League that is funded by a great share of our salaries. Right now the percentage taken can be anything at all. And in the last few years the League didn't return some money to us."
SS: If there is a lockout, would all players go to Russia?
Bryzgalov: "I will. But I wouldn't talk for everyone. Some players like Switzerland, Germany… I cannot make any decisions about the KHL myself until September 15. The lockout won't be announced until that day. So I have a contract with Philadelphia."
SS: How did you feel about Jaromir Jagr leaving Philadelphia?
Bryzgalov: "Nothing at all. He left, so be it. He's a kind, open person, of course. We had a great relationship. But what can I do? Call Jaromir and yell 'What have you done? Come back, I will forgive everything!'?"
SS: Your colleague Sergei Bobrovsky was traded to Columbus. Do you feel about this the same way you do about Jagr leaving?
Bryzgalov: "No, this is different. A like-minded person, someone I could talk to in my native language about goaltending, life, politics, anything left the club. But I understand that this trade would only benefit Sergei. He wants to become a starter in the NHL very much."
SS: Was Bobrovsky a serious competition for you?
Bryzgalov: "I am not afraid of any competition. I'm not of that age anymore. And I never think of what my backup is like. Sergei is an able, talented guy. God willing his career turns out to be great."
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