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Time for Ilya Bryzgalov to Earn Faith: A Fan’s Look
The Philadelphia Flyers finally get a break from the road. After playing 20 of their last 29 games on the road, the Flyers will start a stretch that includes nine of the next 12 at home. They kick off the run on Tuesday, Jan. 17 with a game against the Minnesota Wild. As a Flyers fan, I was curious who would be in net at the Wells Fargo Center. It seems we got our answer when Peter Laviolette gave a stroke of confidence in Ilya Bryzgalov. Without using so many words, Bryzgalov was described as the top goalie for Laviolette. Now is the time he needs to start proving it.
Over the past month, there is no question that Sergei Bobrovsky has outplayed the prized free agent. On the recent road trip, Bobrovsky won both of his starts and looked spectacular. Meanwhile, Bryzgalov lost both of his starts and looked pretty shaky. But the team knows that Bryzgalov is the guy that has to lead them to glory. With the constant shuffling in net, there has to be concerns over his confidence. That is why it wise for Laviolette to give him the start at home. The coach is always going to do what is best for his team, so we should respect the fact that he has faith in Bryzgalov.
That said it is time for Bryzgalov to reward that faith. It feels like it has been a long time since he had a strong performance. With this little endorsement, he should feel more confident. When the Flyers host the Wild, Bryzgalov needs to come up with a strong game. He is due for a spectacular effort and he really needs one. The criticism of his play only intensifies with each passing game. There are no more HBO cameras to make us laugh at his antics. All we see now is a goalie that is struggling. I have faith that Bryzgalov can turn thing around and start playing great hockey. But faith only goes so far. He needs to show everyone that he is the number one goalie. No one else can say he is.
I'm hoping that Bryzgalov shows us some great saves in this game. He can't afford to let in more than two goals. The Flyers brought him in for one reason. They reshaped the entire team to bring him here to win a Stanley Cup. It hasn't worked out so far, but there is a long way to go for this team. The road to redemption has to start now.
* - Mark Paul is a Philadelphia resident and Flyers fan. Follow him on Twitter here.
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