Ilya Bryzgalov Set to Debut for the 2011-12 Philadelphia Flyers

Joe RussomannoCorrespondent ISeptember 21, 2011

GLENDALE, AZ - APRIL 20:  Goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Phoenix Coyotes stands attended for the National Anthem before Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Detroit Red Wings during the 2011 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Arena on April 20, 2011 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Red Wings defeated the Coyotes 6-3 to win the series 4-0.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With the much heated debate raged about Ilya Bryzgalov's talent level all summer, Philadelphia Flyers fans finally get to see him in action tonight.

So OK, I admit, it is only a preseason game but being a ferocious supporter myself, even I have the jitters about him. Before all the fraud comments blow up the comment section, let me explain.

Through the '90s and '00s, Flyers fans have been waiting for that legitimate goaltender. As fate would have it, Pelle Lindberghe was stolen from us. Ron Hextall bloomed late in his career only to be traded then returned after his prime.

Cechmanek, Esche, Boucher, and Bobrovsky are all a few samples of names thrown at Philadelphia Flyers fans through the years. While the "Bob" is quite possibly a future Vezina-caliber goalie, it won't be anytime soon. For now, the Philly Phaithful will have to be patient and let Bryzgalov do his thing.

Hey, I have Bryzgalov projected to win the Vezina this year. However, years of frustration have me, one of his staunchest supporters, a tad nervous and hungry to see him in orange and black. Last night I watched Sergei Bobrovsky post a shutout. Yes, it was preseason, and yes, most those players won't even be on an NHL roster, but darn he played a heck of a game.

Every time Bryzgalov lets in a goal this year, there will be those grasping at the ammo to supplant with Bobrovsky. Perhaps the devastation of broken dreams in seasons with so much promise ending in goaltender inadequacy is the cause.

One thing is for sure: The Philadelphia Flyers and their fans (myself included) are desperate for the second coming of Bernie Parent. Tonight is the first step in finding out if we have just that.

Don't get me wrong, it will take a lot for me to fall off the Bryzgalov bandwagon. I just need to see a few flashes of brilliance from him tonight. Consider it a refresher after all the lip-biting, foul-word-filled debate all summer with Flyers haters and fans alike. Even Bryzgalov himself has to know this game tonight is a little bit more than a preseason game for him.