Philadelphia goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov is already connected to some pretty strange stories. Some involve his odd yet hilarious fascination with the universe while others surround his mediocre play in net, including a recent play where he appeared to try to duck under a shot. You can add another bizarre story to his resume as Bryzgalov is at the heart of a controversy over his actions after a recent loss and an alleged report that he was caught napping in a team meeting.
The first incident occurred when Bryzgalov was pulled for allowing four goals on 16 shots after two periods against the Winnipeg Jets. Shortly after sitting down on the bench, Bryzgalov closed his eyes before trying to hide a big yawn behind his glove.
The incident was a strange one. Obviously Bryzgalov wasn't sleeping here, but it was a rather odd choice from the Russian goaltender to make it look like he was bored in a losing effort. His actions reportedly angered teammates as word about his strange demeanor after receiving the hook circulated around the team.
Just a couple days later, a report emerged that during a team meeting the goaltender was caught sleeping. As a result, the Flyers were benching him and rolling with newly acquired Steve Mason in net against the New York Islanders.
As you might have expected, the original report was refuted almost immediately by various Flyers. An article from Philly.com reports that the decision to bench Bryzgalov against the Islanders was made prior to the now mysterious team meeting. Ruslan Fedotenko labeled the story as a "bad rumor." Wayne Simmonds said he never saw Bryzgalov sleeping.
Case closed? Not quite.
The same report from Philly.com states that two Flyers players insisted that Bryzgalov "definitely had his eyes closed." Some believed he did so to show displeasure towards the decision to start Mason in his place.
Was Bryzgalov actually sleeping? We'll never know for sure, but this story along with his mediocre stats and reports that his teammates are growing tired of his act might make a solid case that the Flyers should buy out his contract after the 2013 season.
When asked about a potential buy out, Bryzgalov's comments likely did little to smooth things over with his teammates.
"To be honest, I don’t care. Really, I don’t care. I have no control on this, so why should I care?”