Our friends at the Las Vegas Wrangers have been featured here many times for their wacky promotions. Remember The Indoor Winter Classic? What about "Over 18" Night? Well, this season there may be another reason to pay attention to the ECHL club.
On Thursday, Steve Whyno of the Canadian Press broke the news that Ilya Bryzgalov has agreed to a tryout contract with the Wranglers. The tryout is an attempt to stay in game shape and hope he can pique the interest of an NHL side looking to improve their goaltending.
Here's Bryzgalov's quote, via the Wranglers:
“[Wrangers head coach and GM] Mike Madill’s passion for the game, his team, and his excitement about training camp were a big part of the reason why I chose to participate in the Wranglers training camp,” said Bryzgalov. “Having missed camp this year, an experience like this is critical for me to be ready for NHL play, and I can’t wait to get on the ice. Everyone’s motivation here is largely driven by an unparalleled passion for the game, and this will offer me a very interesting perspective and be a great opportunity for me to reflect on why I started playing this great game in the first place. It’s going to be something very special, and I expect I will learn as much from this experience as any other I have had in my career.”
“To be clear, I intend to return to the NHL, and to be ready for game action when an NHL opportunity opens up. I intend to work hard while I am here in Las Vegas, and to return the support I have received from my family, the many fans who have reached out to me with words of encouragement, and the Wranglers organization with actions, not words. This is a unique opportunity for me to be an example to my own children, to the young fans who have supported me, to my new teammates, and eventually to the NHL teammates who will come to rely on me again,” said Bryzgalov.
Bryz won't talk again until after training camp.
There was talk that the Pittsburgh Penguins were interested in the 33-year old goaltender, but those were rumors shot down, for the time being at least. With Tomas Vokoun out 3-6 months after having a blood clot dissolved last month, General Manager Ray Shero said he was happy with his tandem of Marc-Andre Fleury and rookie Jeff Zatkoff.
Bryzgalov, who was bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers in June, is due $23 million over the next 14 years. What better place to spend some time than Las Vegas!
The Wranglers begin their season on Oct. 19, with training camp opening up this week.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy