Ilya Bryzgalov has spent his vacation in Turkey and held his own hockey camp for young goalies in Russia. Now he's getting excited about next season. He says he didn't spend much time in Philadelphia in the summer, but he liked what he saw.
"First of all, I didn't have a lot of time to look around in Philadelphia. I was there for only two days. And even then I was mostly at the practice rink."
"But it’s a beautiful city. The former capital. How could it be bad? There’s the Liberty Bell, and the building which is known for the declaration of independence. There’s a lot of stuff to see, so many stories."
"They created America."
"They're also committed to their team, they love their team."
Bryzgalov signed a massive deal with the Flyers, but he denies money being important to him.
"Money is just a piece of paper. The most important thing in life is the knowledge you have and how you can put it to use. You have to do something concrete. Be like an artisan. Do something you’re able to do and make a living out of it. And there will always be people supporting your work, giving you chances and give you a job."
The Flyers' ability to win the Cup was the main reason he signed.
"That’s why I signed, absolutely."
Bryzgalov isn’t afraid that the same could happen to him as what happened to Zherdev. The Flyers aren’t known for their Russians afterall.
"Well, they had Zherdev and Bobrovsky. They talk very highly of Bobrovsky. They don’t look at your passport and treat you by that. They treat you by your actions and how well you can respond to their expectations considering your paycheck. They look at how you fit in on the team and how you behave and treat you accordingly. If you’re a good guy and do your job, there will be no problems. If you have problems, it doesn’t matter what it says in your passport."
With a long term contract in hand and a Stanley Cup win already on his resume, one might think Bryzgalov has already achieved his goals. But Bryzgalov says he’s not there yet.
"You need to win a lot to be great. You should have your chest full of medals and fingers full of rings and then you’ll be great. I don’t think I’m even close to that yet."
This report was based off of a Russian-language story in the publication Rossiyskaya Gazeta.