Ilya Bryzgalov: How Long Before the Philly Faithful Turn on Him?

Eric CaspersonCorrespondent IIDecember 1, 2011

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 17:  Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov #30 of the Philadelphia Flyers watches the play during an NHL hockey game against the Phoenix Coyotes at Wells Fargo Center on November 17, 2011 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Flyers won 2-1.  (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Ilya Brygalov has been as advertised at times, but also very suspect for a supposed true No. 1 goaltender.

He was brought here for one reason: to stabilize the goaltender situation in Philadelphia. Ever since Ron Hextall left, the Flyers' netminders have been playing too many rounds of musical chairs.

After a trade and $51 million, the Flyers, and their fans, thought that they finally had someone to lean on. Someone that can stand between the pipes night in and night out and be a rock for them.

Obviously, you cannot expect a shutout each game, but the consistency, or inconsistency that Bryzgalov is playing at should be waiving a red flag.

Although it is still early on in the season, Bryzgalov has shown he can be a streaky player. In five October games, he had a stretch where he went 1-4-1 with a 4.16 GAA. He then bounced back over the next six games going 5-0-1 with a 1.67 GAA.

Recently, he gave up four goals and got pulled in the first quarter of his last two games respectively.

Bryzgalov is new to the roster and may need some time to gel, or communicate better with his defensemen, but how long will it take? When will fans start to question him?

What will make fans question him and put him under the microscope even further is the Flyers' backup netminder, Sergei Bobrovsky. Bob has shown he is plenty capable of being a No. 1 goalie in this league. He was the Flyers' No. 1 last year.

This year, he has shown no sign of a sophomore slump. Except for the Winnipeg Jets shootout, Bob has manned the pipes pretty well for coming off the bench when called upon.

Fans are realizing he deserves to play and more importantly, Peter Laviolette is. After Bryzgalov was pulled from his last game, Bob got another start the next game.

That shows one of two things. Either Laviolette is not happy with Bryzgalov's play or he is impressed with the play of his second-year goalie.

If Bryzgalov was a true No. 1, he would be out there almost every game. Again, it is still way too early for fans to throw in the towel on him. Over the course of the season, the Flyers should get their money's worth out of him.

Give him time. Give him until the All-Star Break. By that time, Bryzgalov should have settled down in Philly.