Like the “humongous” universe he was so fascinated by during HBO’s ‘‘24/7,’’ the Ilya Bryzgalov YouTube library is vast and endless. Type his name into the search field, and you’ll find out Bryz- galov is afraid of bears in the forest. You’ll hear how the Wild goaltender thinks Siberian huskies with blue eyes look like beautiful blondes. You’ll watch him dive on the knife after a 9-8 Flyers loss to Winnipeg by telling reporters, “If you throw a ball instead of a puck, I’m not going to stop it. I’m terrible. I’m lost in the woods.” Wild defenseman Ryan Suter figured he’d give his new pal a pointer April 7 following a funny scene in Winnipeg that would have lived in YouTube infamy had Bryzgalov been scored upon. Suter was partly amused and partly flabbergasted when Bryz- galov encouraged Jets fans to taunt him while the Jets were circling the puck in the offensive zone. With Bryzgalov waving his arms to the tune of “Il-ya, Il-ya,” the goalie suddenly had to drop into his butterfly to stop a point shot. After a line change, Suter skated to Bryzgalov, whom he kiddingly calls “Vladimir,” and told him, “Hey, if they score, you’re going to look like an idiot.” Bryzgalov’s reply? “Yeah, I know, but it’s just how it is. Tradition,” Suter laughed as he imitated Bryzgalov’s thick Russian brogue. “He’s a good dude.” Bryzgalov made 24 saves that night for his second consecutive shutout. In 11 starts and 12 games since coming from Edmonton on March 4, the 33-year-old is 7-1-3 with a 2.12 goals-against average and three shutouts. Acquired by the Wild at the trade deadline, Bryzgalov was tabbed as Darcy Kuemper’s backup. But the surprising rookie faltered a bit in March, then was injured. So as the Wild begins the playoffs Thursday night at Colorado, the net belongs to Bryzgalov. The team’s fourth No. 1 goalie of the season has 38 games of playoff experience and won a Stanley Cup in 2007 as Jean-Sebastien Giguere’s backup with Anaheim.
Wild pins playoff hopes on Bryzgalov
Minneapolis Star Tribune | Apr 17