Ducks fans rejoiced when word came out yesterday that goalie Ilya Bryzgalov had come out of a short retirement to join the team on a pro tryout
and was working out in Anaheim with hopes of making the roster. It's not just because Bryzgalov is a quality veteran NHL netminder who can help the injury-riddle Ducks, but also because he has one of the best (and quirkiest) personalities in all of hockey. And Ducks fans got to know and love him during his four seasons here, which included some pretty incredible performances during the 2006 playoffs and early in the Cup-winning 2007 postseason.
Most of us know about the legendary "Why you haf to be mad?" interview
before the Ducks faced Edmonton with former Oiler Chris Pronger for the first time or his explanation of the universe
("humongous big") from HBO's 24/7 Flyers Rangers.
For me, there is the personal story of the time I went around the Ducks locker room asking them for their favorite memories from the '06 playoffs and Bryz's answer was simply, "Free lunch."
"I am who I am. Life is [too] beautiful to be sad, to be depressed. You've got to enjoy every day of your life. The sun comes up and it’s so beautiful. Everybody is in good condition and good health. You've got to enjoy it. You've got to find the positive moments in your life every day." - Ilya Bryzgalov
After his second day of working out on the ice in Anaheim, Bryzgalov spoke with us on video
, then took part in a conference call with local media
. He was asked at the start if he ever thought he would be back in Anaheim, and he said, "To be honest? No. It was a big surprise for me. It’s a great place to play. I remember when I was joking with Teemu Selanne and he said this is the best place to play hockey. After my few years in hockey, I realized, yes, it’s true. This is one of the best places to play hockey."
He ended the session by responding to a question about whether he had changed since his last time in Anaheim (for which we're including the audio snippet to properly do it justice):
"You know, I don't think so. I am who I am. Life is [too] beautiful to be sad, to be depressed. You've got to enjoy every day of your life. The sun comes up and it’s so beautiful. Everybody is in good condition and good health. You've got to enjoy it. You've got to find the positive moments in your life every day." Click here if audio won't play
I think I might get that embroidered on a pillow.