On June 24, one day before his client was bought out, Ilya Bryzgalov’s agent bragged in an e-mail to the Daily News that he had “half a dozen” NHL general managers saying they would “have (Bryzgalov) on their team anytime.”
More than a month later, Bryzgalov has not yet found a home for next season.
Last week, Bryzgalov was left off Russia’s Sochi Olympic evaluation roster, even though he played for his country at the World Championships in May. Sergei Bobrovsky and 38-year-old Evgeni Nabokov were invited.
Meanwhile, there has nary been a whisper about any offer for Bryzgalov – let alone in the NHL. On Friday, word of Bryzgalov’s first official offer from Russia’s KHL finally surfaced – though it appears to be a much less than desirable one.
Former NHL star Alexander Mogilny confirmed to Sport-Express that he has made an offer to Bryzgalov. Mogilny is president of new expansion franchise Vladivostok Admirals, which will begin play in the KHL this season.
There are two potential problems: (1) Mogilny firmly acknowledges that his club may not be able to pay Bryzgalov’s required rate and (2) Vladivostok is in the middle of nowhere.
Vladivostok is now home to the KHL’s eastern-most club. The city of 592,000 people, while home to the Russian pacific fleet, is situated on the border between North Korea and China.
Hey, Bryzgalov said earlier this offseason he saw "logic" in Joseph Stalin. Perhaps he will enjoy being close to communism is North Korea.
Vladivostok is approximately a 15-hour flight from Vladivostok to Prague, home of the KHL’s western-most team, where the team must travel at least once during the season. It is a 9-hour flight from Vladivostok to Moscow, where the bulk of the league is located, and upwards of four time zones away from division rivals like Ufa.
Plus, the Admirals are likely to struggle on the ice, having culled players from various teams in an expansion draft.
“About Bryzgalov, I can only say good words,” Mogilny said in a rough translation. “A great goalkeeper. You do not have to hang all the dogs on him for the defeat at the World Championships.”
When asked why he would be interested in Bryzgalov, since his stop in Philadelphia was characterized as “abysmal” by a reporter, Mogilny responded by saying: “Who told you that?”
“Do you know how many games last season he won and lost?” Mogilny asked. “His contract was bought out, so it’s the financial policy of the American team. Bryzgalov is now without a club, and I am pleased to have invited him to the Admirals. However, we are not a rich club, so I do not know whether he will accept our terms and conditions.”
The Flyers are paying Bryzgalov $1.6 million for each of the next 14 years, so money should not be much of an issue.
Bryzgalov opened his goaltending school for 12 elite young prospects on Friday, the third year he’s conducted such a camp. His first session of the summer is in Yaroslavl, with children from the local “Lokomotiv” club, from the same franchise which tragically lost 45 team members when their plane crashed on Sept. 7, 2011. Former Flyers defenseman Brad McCrimmon, coach of the Lokomotiv team, lost his life in the crash.
In addition to on-ice and video work, Bryzgalov will “reveal secrets for correct mental preparation” and “explain the nuances of communication with the media,” according to Championat.
No, we weren’t making that last part up.
Bryzgalov will move his camp to Chelyabinsk from July 30 to Aug. 1. Perhaps, by then, other offers will come in for him to find a place to play next season. The KHL season begins in early September.
And Vladivostok is a far cry away from the “half a dozen” NHL teams that supposedly had interest in that e-mail from Bryzgalov’s agent, Ritch Winter, to the Daily News.
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