Russian NHL players may be a tight-knit group, but they don't exactly know everything there is to know about each other.
For example, when asked what he knew about Capitals superstar and fellow Russian Alex Ovechkin, Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov told reporters, "He's Russian. He wears No. 8. He signed a contract with Gillette."
Commercial endorsements aside, Bryzgalov said he hasn't studied much of Ovechkin's tendencies.
"I never had much experience to play against him," Bryzgalov said. "Only, I guess, two games (when Bryzgalov was with Phoenix)."
In their first meeting, Jan. 23, 2010, Ovechkin had a goal and an assist in a 4-2 Capitals win against the Coyotes. In last season's lone encounter, Feb. 14, 2011, Ovechkin was held to six shots on goal, while Bryzgalov turned aside 29 of 31 shots in a 3-2 Coyotes win.
Ovechkin said he didn't know much about Bryzgalov, either.
"I think everybody knows I have a Gillette contract," he said. "That's nothing new. … We played a couple times against him when he was in Phoenix. He's a big, huge goalie who reads the game well. We have to find a way to score some goals against him."
The pair was teammates on Russia's 2010 Olympic team, and Bryzgalov did say away from the ice, he and Ovechkin are friendly, and even had a barbecue together once.
"Not hamburgers," Bryzgalov said of the fixings. "Borscht, and kabobs."
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK
After being through it and seeing the other [outdoor] games on TV, just the atmosphere is spectacular. To stand here -- and we are essentially almost on the blue line -- and look up [into the stands] and knowing it is going to be packed and playing our biggest rival in this setting is going to be pretty special.
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Jan. 1, 2016