Sometime before 2005: Ilya Bryzgalov trade proves Flyers still have pre-salary cap mentality

DALLAS TX - FEBRUARY 09: Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Phoenix Coyotes before a game against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on February 9 2011 in Dallas Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Ilya Bryzgalov could very well be a member of the Philadelphia Flyers next season. He could be our starting goaltender. Yes, a 2011 Vezina Trophy nominee could be the goaltender of your favorite hockey team ... and in 2011, nonetheless. 

For each and every one of us, this is supposed to be the news for which we've been waiting over a two decades. For some of us, we've been waiting our entire lives for this news. The Flyers could have a true, legitimate No. 1 goaltender next year. He's also only 30 years old, so he could be ours for a very long time. 

And God damn, that's f*cking exciting. It makes me giddy with delight. It likely makes you feel the same.

Just picture it. Ilya Bryzgalov wearing Flyers orange, putting up these kinds of numbers.

2011-12 Regular Season GP MIN W L EV SV% GA GAA SA SV SV% SO
Ilya Bryzgalov, PHI 68 4060 36 20 .931 168 2.48 2125 1957 .921 7 (!)

Damn, that's sexy. But unfortunately, this reaction is purely visceral. It's made using the raw emotion we so often dump into our sports teams, not the brain that we would prefer to leave at the office at the end of the day. 

I would love a new car. Not that I don't appreciate the car I have now, but you know, it's a 2003, it's got some miles on it and a brand new one would be really nice. Leather seats, a sun roof, better gas mileage, maybe one of those awesome built-in GPS systems in the dash. Unfortunately, I'm on a budget like everybody else who doesn't work on Wall Street and I can't afford a brand new car right now. 

I mean, I guess I could afford a new car if I really wanted one, but it'd mean a few less trips to the bar with my buddies every month, less eating out, curbing some vacation time in the summer and just general cutbacks across the board when it comes to my everyday lifestyle. To put it simply, it wouldn't be worth it.

Sure, I'd have this great new ride and it'd probably be the envy of all my friends, but when you factor in everything I'd have to get rid of in order to afford it, I'd be losing the overall battle. Hell, I'd be eating Ramen every night for dinner. (Seriously, my poor blood pressure.)

That's how we should be approaching the Flyers goaltending situation this summer.

You know, it'd be great to drop a bunch of coin on a goaltender like Ilya Bryzgalov. We have him for a bit of a test drive over the next 22 days, and we're just getting to know him. The idea is really nice, and we're going to see if we can make it work in the budget.

But we know deep down inside that when we crunch the numbers, we can't afford it. 

Well, let's clarify: we could afford it, but it'd mean a decrease in goal production, a tapered defensive unit and the inability to break in the engine on the very new car (yet admittedly, an experimental model) we already have in the garage. You know, less of all that stuff that made our hockey team so good last season.

To put it simply, it wouldn't be worth it.


As Flyers fans, this is bizarre for us. We're in the sixth offseason of the salary cap age, and even despite the many years of being fixed to a budget, we've still been able to buy all the new toys we want.

Peter Forsberg (two years, $11.5 million)

Derian Hatcher (four years, $14 million)

Mike Rathje (five years, $17.5 million)

Kimmo Timonen (six years, $6.3 million per)

Scott Hartnell (six years, $4.2 million per)

Danny Briere (eight years, $6.5 million)

Chris Pronger (seven years, $35 million)

We always get what we want. We have one of the best, most dedicated owners in professional sports, and he's willing to do anything to get what we want and what we need. Right now, we need a goaltender. We want a goaltender. And by God, he's going to get us a goaltender -- no matter what. 

What was that quote from Ed Snider in the Inquirer a few weeks back?

"If we trade or go for a goalie, we'll make it work," he said. "We can make anything work, even with the cap."

But at some point, it just doesn't work. At some point, we run out of tricks up the sleeve, and we have to analyze the situation with our wallet out on the table and our bright orange jersey in the closet.

The NHL says Snider can spend $59.4 million on his hockey team (or potentially as much as $63.5 million next season). That's a hard cap, and despite it, we've found ways to get around it quite a lot in recent years.

But hey, you know what? At some point, the rules actually apply to us, too. We can't just make anything work anymore.

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