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Ilya Bryzgalov, Former Wrangler, Re-Opens “Distractions” Can Of Worms

Outspoken former goalie and current hockey analyst Ilya Bryzgalov has been out of the NHL since the conclusion of the 2014-15 season yet his voice is still an interesting one when it comes to Vegas Golden Knights matters.

The Russian who is “not afraid of anything… but bears,” recently lobbied for a job with the Golden Knights in an interview with SportsNet, but it was his comments on distractions that may need to be taken seriously.

The young ones with the cash? Las Vegas can provide lots of scenes, know what I mean? Not many young guys can say, ‘It’s not for me. I have things to do here.’ We’ll see how much trouble can be in Las Vegas. But! I think it can be a fun place to play. –Ilya Bryzgalov to Luke Fox of SportsNet

Bryzgalov tried out for the Wranglers in 2013 and practiced with the team for two weeks before being released. He said ECHL players don’t have the money to get themselves into trouble, but believes NHL players are a different story.

It’s tough to tell how serious he was being in the conversation, because in the previous sentence he actually said he hopes George McPhee reads the article and gives him a chance, but either way, coming from a former player it has to hold a bit of weight.

During the NHL Awards in June, Brett Burns, Jamie Benn, and Ryan Kesler all went on record saying distractions won’t be an issue in Vegas any more than any other city. However, none of them have actually lived and played in Vegas, even if for just a short period like Bryzgalov.

It’s possible Bryzgalov was just trying to have some fun, like when he pondered the size of the universe on HBO, or it’s possible he’s being serious. Either way, it’s a story that won’t go away until players make it.

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  1. PhiSig 150

    I really hate this crap. So there’s nothing in LA, New York, Chicago, Boston, Dallas, etc to get players in trouble? Did these cities become dry overnight and no one told me? If anything I’d worry more about a player in a market like Buffalo where wherever they go they’re the center of attention and get hounded and hassled (I think I recall a certain Sabre that can’t seem to stay out of trouble). Out here pretty sure people won’t be losing their shit over a player they probably don’t recognize to begin with and there’s bound to be a much bigger celeb inside somewhere. I’m confident our bars and clubs can do their part to keep our guys out of trouble. We even have Uber now! Bottom line women, alcohol, drugs, and parties are available everywhere especially if you have cash to spend. Not sure what makes Las Vegas so scary to so many people.

    • RJ

      Totally agree, and I hope Bryz was just having some fun. Lots of cities get that ‘distraction’ tag. Frankly, it’s just a talking point. The bottom line is playing in Las Vegas is going to be a lot more attractive than playing in Ottawa or Minnesota or most other Hockey cities. That’s where this comes from, they are trying to minimize the advantage, I’m okay with that.

      • I’m with both of you guys on this. Just thought it was interesting the way he said what he said. Seemed a bit tongue and cheek, but I wasn’t fully sure.

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