Guest Writer, Michael Peterson
Ilya Bryzgalov has been making himself known in the social media circut as of late, with light hearted tweets about things of good nature and golfing. It's well known that the honeymoon phase is in full swing between the goaltender and the city of Philadelphia and it's rabid fan base.
But what will happen when things get turned on it's ear?
As we all know, Flyers preseason hockey starts tonight. With the future looking ahead for the boys in orange and black. With Bryzgalov mainlining the crease for the upcoming season.
Though Bryz won't be playing in tonight's preseason opener, there are some questions as to how the fans could react during the season when the rough opening schedule starts. With games against the Bruins, Devils, Canucks, and Kings right off the bat. Now some will look at the Devils and laugh, but let's be real here; New Jersey always plays the Flyers tough, even stealing a few games from the orange and black last season.
What if the team goes 1-3 during that stretch? What will be his reception then? The guess would be, that Bryzgalov should be prepared for anything. The boos, the jeers, even some supportive cheers by the faithful.
There's no doubt in my mind that Bryzgalov can handle the pressures of playing in such a passionate market like Philadelphia; a city that wants to win, and win now.
What will happen if he goes 2-2, 3-1, or even 4-0 in that stretch? The 2-2 answer may be mixed, with people swaying their opinions of the netminder. The latter two, well there's a possibility that he could have some unfair comparisons to other Flyer goalie greats, such as Bernie Parent, Pelle Lindbergh, and Ron Hextall.
Though, unlike his time spent with the Phoenix Coyotes, Bryzgalov has an immense amount of talent surrounding him both offensively and defensively. With players like Danny Briere, Chris Pronger, Kimmo Timonen, Claude Giroux, and upstarts like Andrej Meszaros and Braydon Coburn around him. Bryz doesn't have to keep the ship floating alone this time around.