Simmonds: Bryzgalov gone 'will help guys out'

Wayne Simmonds during an NHL hockey game against the New Jersey Devils, Thursday, April 18, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Matt Slocum/AP file)

Wayne Simmonds said yesterday he thinks the Flyers’ goaltending switch from Ilya Bryzgalov to Ray Emery and Steve Mason will not help only on the ice - but also in the dressing room.

Simmonds joined Sportsnet 590 in Toronto on Thursday morning to promote his charity efforts this weekend when he was asked about the Flyers’ eccentric former netminder.

The question posed to Simmonds was: “Are you guys better off with Emery over Bryzgalov, just from a dressing room standpoint and stability?”

“I think it will help guys out,” Simmonds responded. “Nothing against Bryz or anything like that. When (Mason) came in last year, he played really strong for us. And you look at what Razor did with Chicago, I think we got a great, one-two tandem there. They can battle it out.”

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Simmonds is careful, though, to not throw Bryzgalov too far under the bus. He stopped short of really delving into Bryzgalov's off-ice issues. His words are the first on-the-record inkling from a Flyers teammate since Bryzgalov's departure.

Simmonds also said it’s “going to be different,” losing out on a leader like Danny Briere, but praised Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren for bringing in “three character players” in Vincent Lecavalier, Mark Streit and Emery.

Simmonds and Emery trained for a bit together last summer in Toronto.

“Ilya played well at times for us,” Simmonds said. “We’re getting three new guys in here, we’ve got to look forward. We’ve got be positive. We didn’t get the results we wanted and we’re going to come back this year that much more hungry.”

Along with a slew of other NHL players, Simmonds will be raising money in his hometown of Scarborough, Ontario, on Saturday with “Wayne’s Road Hockey Warriors.” The program is designed to fund children in Scarborough with the opportunity to play hockey. Simmonds’ program already secured the donation of 25 sets of equipment from the NHL’s Players’ Association.

Simmonds will be at the Scarborough Gardens Ice Arena, where he first learned to play hockey, on Saturday from 9-2 p.m.

Simmonds mentioned in the interview, conducted at 7 a.m., that he was already on his way to the gym preparing for the season. After competing for Team Canada at the World Championships in Sweden after the Flyers’ season ended, Simmonds said he took off for three weeks to tour through Europe with his girlfriend.

Sportsnet 590’s hosts jokingly asked Simmonds if he took a detour through Mars to visit Bryzgalov.

“I don’t even know,” Simmonds said, laughing. “He might be there by himself.”

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