On September 19th, almost a week after the NHL Lockout was decided upon, the Philadelphia Flyers‘ Ilya Bryzgalov decided to return to his homeland in order to play in the KHL during the lockout. Bryzgalov signed with HC CSKA Moscow, a team owned by former NHL center, Sergei Fedorov.
In his first year with the Flyers, Bryzgalov struggled a bit under the pressure of the Philadelphia faithful. In 59 games, Bryzgalov ended up with a 33-16-7 record. Bryzgalov recorded a GAA of 2.48 and gave up 141 goals. His .909 save percentage was one of the worst of his career.
Last season in the KHL, HC CSKA Moscow had 19 wins in 54 games. They were the 8th seed heading into the playoffs and lost in the conference quarterfinals.
Bryzgalov joins other NHL stars, such as Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin, Alexander Ovechkin and Pavel Datsyuk, in the KHL. Bryzgalov’s move to the KHL was already anticipated when he told reporters that he would return to Russia in event of a lockout.
Bryzgalov heading to the KHL could be a good thing for the Flyers. If Bryzgalov plays well, his confidence will be high, if and when he returns to the NHL this season. Look for Bryzgalov to be very successful in the KHL and carry a boat load of confidence into the shortened NHL year.
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