Ilya Bryzgalov gave his first press conference in Edmonton a few days ago and it was a subdued affair. The press and the fans waiting for cocky and crazy revelations were disappointed.
He said all the right things. When asked about the weather in Edmonton, he said he was from Russia and had seen this type of weather before. When asked about when he would play, he said he would take it day by day but ultimately it was the coach’s decision. There was one humorous moment. A reporter asked him if he was upset that he was being paid not to play in Philadelphia after being bought out from his contract and his reply was “of course not.”
You have to wonder if all of his reputation for being crazy is deserved. HBO’s 24/7 was a great show but obviously heavily edited. Those editors choose what they want to show. They decide how certain individuals are portrayed. I think Bryzgalov may be a little different but did 24/7 present a completely accurate picture? That is debatable.
Even if he is strange, does it matter? Goaltenders throughout NHL history have had a reputation for being different. As long as he isn’t a distraction or causing problems in the dressing room, being an oddball isn’t a problem.
When I talked about the signing of Bryzgalov here http://oilonwhyte.com/2013/11/08/desperate-times-call-desperate-measures/ I said it could push Dubnyk to be better. Dubnyk’s save percentage was .878 before Bryzgalov. Since the signing it is over 900. That is significant improvement. Now it could be coincidence. Perhaps Dubnyk was on the cusp of getting his game back. Some players thrive on pressure and competition. Dubnyk might be that player.
We will have to wait for the debut of Bryzgalov as Dubnyk is playing well. He just shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. If it is true that Dubnyk has been pushed to a better performance by the signing of Bryzgalov than his signing has already paid dividends and he has yet to play a single game!
The Unfortunate Plight of Arcobello:
Arcobello has not played since the paper transaction demoting him to the Oklahoma Barons. This is unfortunate. Arcobello’s replacement, Acton did have his best game of the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He won all nine draws he took and was part of a 4th line that had a good night. Still it is sad to see an early feel good story sit out.
Macintyre Put on Waivers:
Enforcer Steve MacIntyre has been placed on waivers by the Edmonton Oilers today. This is completely expected as the arrival of Luke Gazdic made him expendable. Gazdic is a better skater and can hold his own in the fight department
The Lineup will remain the same tonight as it was against Columbus. Hopkins will center Hall and Eberle. Gagner will center Hemsky and Yakupov. This line has showed a lot of chemistry since being put together. Gordon will center Smyth and Perron. Acton will be in-between Joensuu and Gazdic on the fourth line.
Confidence Begets Confidence:
When you feel good about yourself you perform better. This is as true in sports as it is in real life. The Oilers need to win tonight to make it 3 straight. This will build their swagger in preparation for their tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday.