Ilya Bryzgalov, the Flyers and the Philly media

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 27: A dejected Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers sits in the net after the game winning goal by Andrew Ladd #16 of the Winnipeg Jets at 18:54 of the third period at the Wells Fargo Center on October 27, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Jets defeated the Flyers 9-8. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

We learned today that the Flyers changed their media policy surrounding the most media-friendly player on the team, Mr. Ilya Bryzgalov. The goalie won't be speaking to the media on the day before games he starts or the day of games his starts, essentially meaning that the entertaining quotes will only be flying out of his mouth after games he starts. 

As predictable as the sun coming up in the morning, the majority of the media had a cow over this, showing more outrage over the issue than they've shown over anything in a really, really long time. Probably since Mike Richards pissed them off last year. 

(For the record, we understand and embrace the irony of the fact that we attend games with seats in the PRESS box and with MEDIA written on the badge around our necks, while also commenting on the media as them. But we also acknowledge the difference in our philosophy on covering this team, as well as the difference in our stance on this issue as opposed to the stance of the majority of the mainstream Flyers media.)

Some of the complaints, in chronological order. We'd list them all but that would take all day.

Randy Miller of the Courier Post:

#flyers Bryzgalov only to talk to media after games he plays. Not good!

#Flyers Bryz just made nice save on JVR breakaway in practice. What's Brayz think about that or ANYTHING? We'll let you know AFTER next game

#Flyers apparently moved this year from Dry Island to Mute Island

#Flyers Bryz looking sharp at practice. Well DUH? He hasn't done an interview since Saturday night, so I would expect this.

Sam Carchidi of the Inquirer:

So, on Halloween, Bryz put on a (Silent) Steve Carlton costume. #Flyers

Just call him Ilya Shh-zgalov. #Flyers #NHL.

Mute Island will work, because Bryz's stats almost HAVE TO improve. Yep, it'll be because he didn't talk to the media. #Flyers

Bryz will not talk to for 3 days between Sat. and Wed. Shhhh: I feel a shutout in Buffalo Wed. #Flyers

#Flyers just modified their Bryz policy. Now he just won't talk day before game and day of game (except after it).

Shhh-gate. #Flyers they don't want Bryz to talk today, however _ even tho it's 2 days before game.

So Bryz want talk to HBO for 24/7 the day before a game? Hmmm. #Flyers

Philly chapter of Hockey Writers Assoc. has filed a complaint on Bryz situation. #Flyers could be fined for not giving access.

Ryan Bright of Philly Sports Daily:

So the $51-million-dollar franchise goaltender is only talking to media after games he plays. Well, that didn't take long.

The silence by Bryz isn't just after back-ups but after practices, citing media as a distraction.

Tim Panaccio of CSN Philly:

days after goalie coach Jeff Reese says Bryz talking too much to the media, #flyers announce new media policy ...

Bryz will ONLY talk after games he plays in ... this is a guy who LOVES to chatter.

Bryz has SO much to say ... this guy will implode if he doesnt talk.

our point is this: what if the policy changes to "rookies will no longer talk except post games"? where do u draw line?

This means HBO will have NO access to Bryz, just like the Philly media for their 24/7, too on day before/day of game. HBO wont like that

This is just a glimpse at how the media feels about this issue, but it captures the sentiment quite well. A lot of jokes and poking fun at the Flyers for keeping Bryzgalov away from them. A lot of self-righteousness over the travesty of a goaltender not talking to them.

And that's all part of the proper reaction. It's important for Bryzgalov to speak with the media, not because he's an entertaining quote and makes the job of those in the media so much easier, but because he's one of the new faces of this franchise. Our Savior, as some would say. He's an integral part of this team for the next nine years and with the money he's getting paid, he needs to talk to the media. And not just after games, too.

But let's not pretend that's the most important part of this story. This is where the media is being self-centered about this issue. At the end of the day, yeah, Bryzgalov not talking to the media is a story, and it's well worth complaining about. It's well worth the Philadelphia chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association filing a grievance against the team, too, as they have this afternoon. CORRECTION: Carchidi's tweet was incorrect. The Philly chapter has not filed a grievance and the situation seems to be close to a resolution.

But it's absolutely not the most important part of the story. The main function of the media isn't just to relay quotes to fans. My video camera can do that for me. It's telling the story of the team to those fans, and that's something they aren't doing here.

The story here isn't "HEY! WE CAN'T SPEAK TO BRYZGALOV!"

The real story -- the one that hasn't been mentioned yet by a single member of the mainstream media -- is "Hey, uh... why can't we speak to Bryzgalov?"

Ask the damn question. Why can't we speak to him? And if we already know the answer -- the general consensus seems to be that goalie coach Jeff Reese thinks the media is a distraction for Bryzgalov -- let's question that answer.

Why is it that a man getting paid $51 million to stop pucks is distracted by talking to a few people with recorders and note pads? If the problem is that there's a lot more media in Philadelphia than there was in Phoenix, let's point out the absurdity in that. Talking to eight people or ten people or 15 people is no more difficult than talking to two. Not when you're a professional athlete, and especially not one who's clearly the opposite of shy with the media. 

The Flyers instituted this policy with Bryzgalov today. Why did they do that? It's absolutely insane to believe that he just can't handle the distraction of talking with the media. That assertion does not pass the smell test. So instead of finding out exactly why this happened, the media is sitting there buying into that B.S. excuse. That's more of an outrage than Bryzgalov not talking to them every day.

The media has the right -- hell, even the responsibility -- to be angry that the Flyers are yanking almost all the access to the $51 million man. At the same time, why is there no outrage over exactly why they're yanking that access?

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