Dallas Stars’ winger Ryan Garbutt bowled over Edmonton Oilers’ goalie Ilya Bryzgalov a week ago, knocking him out with a concussion, but Bryzgalov has been hit much harder. “When I was 12 years old, I got hit by a motorcycle when I got off a bus. I was crossing the street,” said the Russian-born netminder. “I got a concussion … it was really bad. I spent time in the hospital, put me down for two weeks or so.” He was lucky the concussion was his only problem. He could have died. “Yeah, God saved me,” said Bryzgalov. On Sunday, Bryzgalov was stopping shots before some players had fitness testing on the ice so he’s on the road back after suffering a concussion a week ago when Garbutt drilled him on a rush to the net. “I had some headaches and had some trouble sleeping but now I’m much better,” said Bryzgalov, who has been well enough to be up in the press box watching games and spent some time with his former Anaheim goalie coach Francois Allaire when Allaire’s Colorado Avalanche were here. Did he stop all the shots before the fitness exam for a handful of players Sunday at noon? “I don’t remember,” joked Bryzgalov. The Garbutt hit on Bryzgalov didn’t elicit a penalty, maybe because the feisty forward was off-balance as he busted by defenceman Denis Grebeshkov. He says he didn’t care that Garbutt got nothing for his trouble. “I wasn’t thinking about the execution of the other guy,” he said. “All I felt was a pain in my head,” said Bryzgalov. He doesn’t know when he’ll be able to play, but the Oilers have Carolina Hurricanes here Tuesday and the Boston Bruins Thursday. They then head on the road Friday to play Vancouver, with later stops in Anaheim, Los Angeles and Colorado. Maybe he plays an away game on that trip. “When it’s your head or neck, you don’t want to fool with it. When it’s your leg, you can say a guy will be back in four days but anything above the shoulder, that’s open-ended (return-date),” said Oilers’ coach Dallas Eakins. He’s just excited to be in the net, anywhere. “I’m very happy to be playing,” said Bryzgalov, who’s stopped 92 of his 98 shots over four games. While the goalie is on the mend, defenceman Jeff Petry didn’t talk to the media Sunday after his head bounced off a glass partition close to the Calgary Flames bench Saturday. He was checked by David Jones and may also be suffering from concussion-type symptoms. “Jeff’s doing better this morning, we’re cautiously optimistic that he dodged a bullet,” said Eakins.
Oilers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov in recovery mode after hit on the head
Edmonton Journal | Dec 9