Once More into the Breach, dear fans….
November 6, 2007 | Filed in: da b'ars

Today is supposed to be “Ultimate Fantasy League Day” and we’ll get there in a minute.

But first, may I give my condolences to Andrew Gordon, who got tossed down to South Carolina by the Bears the other day.. I feel for you buddy… when the roller derby team was trying to fill their last 4 spots permanently halfway through the season, the pressure on “have to go out and prove yourself” was enough by itself to make even the most seasoned veteran choke, so I know what you’re going through, albeit on a less life-shattering level. Here is an internet hug, and I hope that you get to come back soon, as I enjoyed watching you scrap for the puck even if nobody else did.

Also, congrats to Chris Bourque, who just got called up to DC to play against Atlanta tonight. (via Walton) Keep your stick down and your pants on, Bourquie, and you’ll do fine. Oh, and if you feel like ricocheting one off Ovie’s helmet, I’m sure it’ll be justified. (just try to bounce it TOWARDS the opposite goal, not away)

And a followup on the injured fan at the Bridgeport/Hershey game at reports that he tried to file charges with the Derry Township police and they.. well.. they pretty much laughed at him. The AHL is still trying to decide what to do about Joe Rullier’s little temper tantrum.

But anyway.

Teka’s Ultimate Fantasy Team, aka Players I Follow For Random Reasons.
(Yes, I’m giving you a break from listening me to beat the Jay Beagle/Colby Armstrong/Kris Mayotte drum. Appreciate it while it lasts.)

Ilja Bryzgalov, goalie, Anaheim Ducks

I fully believe that it is virtually impossible to hate Ilja Bryzgalov. He’s another of those second-string goalies who’s been shining lately, in his case because Jean-Paul Giguere (or Giggy, if you prefer) has been healing from double hernia surgery.
Born June, 23 1980 (he’s 27) in Togliotti, Russia, he was picked up by Anaheim in the 2002 draft, 44th overall. For a goalie, Bryz is HUGE, at 6′3″ and 210 pounds. He spent a good amount of time in the AHL before moving up to back Giggy starting in 2005, and has spent a good number of games from 2006-on in the starter position. During the 2007 off-season, an number of rumors circulated around potential Bryz trades, and he was shopped around, as many people say he’s good enough to be a starter goalie in his own right.

Career Stats on Bryz from
68 3,585 26 23 0 8 146 1,631 2 2.44 .910

Current Season Stats on Bryz from
8 409 2 3 1 15 190 0 2.20 .921

Bryz was also Russia’s Athlete of the Month for May 2006, and is often compared to a mattress for his refusal to give up rebounds. He’s also one of the most easygoing guys on the team, and never seems to have a negative attitude about anything. I started following Bryz during the Duck Stanley Cup run after two friends forced me to watch the Score interview, and after that our catchphrase became “Is just ___thing___! Why you haf to be mad?”

Speaking of that, the most famous Bryz moment ever has to be the Score interview:

However, he’s also got his very own Knob Hockey:

And if you’ve ever wondered what’s on his mask, let him tell you himself:

And for your pictoral enjoyment:

Bryz, Stanley Cup winner (and natty dresser!)

Bryz, daddy! (We’ve taken to calling the kids the Bryzlets. And as an aside, if you look at pictures of the Prongers during the on-ice Stanley celebration, the Prongerlings are wearing Bryz’s gloves.)

And last, but not least…

Bryz, ninja!

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