He was supposed to bring back the glory days of Flyer goaltending, perhaps a glimpse of Bernie Parent or a snapshot of Ron Hextall.
At the very least, Ilya Bryzgalov was supposed to live up to a nine-year, $51 million contract he signed shortly after Flyers owner Ed Snider made it known in May 2011 that something had to be done to reverse a 20-year netminding spiral.
Well, to say that things haven’t gone according to plan would be like calling Hurricane Sandy a slight inconvenience.
Some would call his two seasons in a Flyer uniform a disappointment, others a disaster. This year alone — 18-17-3, 2.84 goals-against average, .898 save percentage — makes people wonder if the Russian has already had his ticket punched out of town via the amnesty clause route.
There appeared to be some bitterness in his voice as he took one last shot at the “critical’’ media Sunday.
Rather than stand up and take some of the blame for his team missing the playoffs, a la Hextall back in the day, Bryzgalov chose to use his self-imposed five-minute time allotment to complain about prejudicial press coverage.
“You guys just here to blame someone,’’ he said. “You never look yourselves in the mirror, eh? You’re always good. You never make the mistakes. Your articles are always perfect. In reality, what have you done for this city? If you ask yourself, what have you done besides only criticize? Not much.’’
Shucks, Ilya, don’t they have the expression “tough love’’ back in the Motherland?
“You know,’’ Bryzgalov continued, “you need some time to analyze what’s happening here and make some decisions, take some positives from this season, negativities and move forward. I need the time to analyze everything. We just finished yesterday and you right away want answers.’’