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.