Getting to know Bryzgalov

LAS VEGAS -- He has Tweeted about things as random as dogs crossing the streets of Moscow and given fans more than a laugh or two from interviews since first joining the NHL in 2005.

Ilya Bryzgalov is full of personality.

He says his best personal trait is his candor.

But rarely has he been as entertaining as he was in a recent interview with SovSport in Russia. The interview was conducted by SovSport’s Pavel Lysenkov.

The article - with a Q&A that ranges from his contract demands, to drinking alcohol, to working with Sergei Bobrovsky, to his message for God when he passes - was translated by Yahoo Sports’ Dmitry Chesnokov.

Here is a partial transcript:

Q: SOVSPORT: Damien Cox from the Toronto Star speculated you asked for a 9 year $60 million contract in Phoenix but the Coyotes didn't agree to it. Is it so?
A: BRYZGALOV: "It's not true. I had no negotiations regarding finances with Phoenix. I didn't receive [even] one offer. The team has no owner, it is run by the League. Days came and went and then I was traded to the Flyers."

Q: You found out about it from the media?
A: "Maybe I told reporters that I didn't know? What do you think, would this trade take place without my consent?"

Q: Would it be better for you to play for an Eastern Conference team?
A: "I never played there. But I heard that hockey players in the East get a bonus. There is less travel. That means you get to spend more time with your family. It's important, especially when you're 31. I am not that young." (laughing)

Q: There may be a tandem of Russian goalies in Philadelphia. Could you imagine yourself as a mentor for Sergei Bobrovsky?
A: "I myself need to learn! What kind of a mentor am I? What are you talking about?"

Q: [Do you believe] 'Either [be] a number one or don't call me'?
A: "Where did you get this? Journalists come up with slogans, create an unhealthy buzz. And then you say that this is what I said. I once said 'I am number one.' And you blew it up to be something else. And you think that if I am not the number one then I won't play for the national team. But I never said that.

Q. You had a similar situation in Anaheim. JS Giguere was the number one with a big contract. Bryzgalov was sitting under him. Did he teach you anything?
A: "Of course now. This is wolves' world. Especially for goaltenders. There are a lot of them but there is only one spot in net."

Q: Were you the best goaltender in April 2011? Skeptics doubted Bryzgalov because he gave up 17 goals to the Red Wings in the series.
A: "Detroit came out and smashed us. Maybe I gave up one or two bad goals, that's it. Once the puck hit me in the leg. I can't even remember the second bad moment. The Red Wings did everything to make my life difficult. I didn't see most of the goals. I was simply torn apart."

Q: One agent said: "Bryzgalov is a perfect client. If only one can get his mouth shut!"
A: "Who said that?"

Q: It doesn't matter. But it is connected to the Winnipeg story when you said that you wouldn't play there 'a city where it's very cold and there are no parks and fun!'  This story really ticked off Canadians.
A: "At least I will be remembered in North America in some way!  But your words surprised me. Who talks so nice of me? A perfect client! Usually people talk very badly of me. Not knowing me they say 'yes, Bryzgalov is difficult, just a terrible character!'"

Q: Really?
A: "I find it out from [the media]. You read and think, 'I don't even know this journalist and he already has a résumé of me. As if we have been going through life side by side.'"

Q: Does it irritate you?
A: "I don't care. But as far as [my] frankness — it used to let me down before, yes."

Q: You don't ever drink…
A: "Why, I did. Until I was 17."

Q: Strange, because 17 is usually when people start to.
A: "I had everything the other way around. I even remember the day — November 7. I got so drunk. And then decided to quit. I realized that I had to choose — either hockey or alcohol."

Q: What did you drink from the Cup and the World Championships trophy?
A: "In the Anaheim locker room I poured in cranberry juice. In Bern I didn't even get a chance to drink. Guys filled up the cup with vodka,." (Laughs)

Q: What does a goaltender feel when he's in goal and is struck by pucks hard as a rock?
A: "But I wear my equipment. I feel very little. Of course I wouldn't stand in goal naked. I don't look crazy, do I?"

Q: But there is a saying 'Play wherever you want, son. Just don't get in goal.'
A: "I would suggest the opposite. So you're on the field. And then bang — a blindside hit. And a concussion. The first one, the second one — and you're broken for the rest of your life. Or you're standing next to the boards trying to dig out the puck — and get hit from behind full speed by someone. And you break your neck. And goalies only have their groins pulled. There are other injuries, but a lot more rare. So what's safer?  Maybe better get in goal, son?"

Q: Why did you decide to join Twitter?
A: "My friend from Phoenix Paul Bissonnette(notes) kept convincing me all the time. 'Bryz, join Twitter!'  I was wondering 'Why do I need it?'  Bissonnette replied 'All my fans and followers write almost every day 'when will Bryzgalov be on Twitter? We want to communicate with him, read his thoughts.' I kept resisting for a long time. And then I thought 'OK, I will join.'"

Q: It's like you have a new life!
A: “Yes, perhaps. It's just it's a lot easier to communicate via Twitter. Because you, journalists, like to rephrase, write your own way. And on Twitter I can express my thoughts more precise and definitive, if I was misunderstood during an interview."

Q: What do you value the most in men?
A: "Wisdom."

Q: What do you value the most in women?
A: "Also wisdom. And patience."

Q: The main trait of your character.
A: "Candor. I am a truth teller."

Q: Where would you like to live?
A: "Where it's quiet and peaceful. An island in the Maldives, 100 by 100 meters?  Something bigger. But two important conditions — warm water and quiet. It won't be boring."

Q: Your favorite author.
A: "Dostoevsky."

Q: What vices do you feel most tolerant towards?
A: "Weakness. A human overall is weak in nature."

Q: Who is your favorite figure in literature?
A: "Voland."

Q: What will you tell God when standing in front of him?
A: "Forgive us all."

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