Earlier today goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov held a conference call with the media regarding his pro tryout with the Ducks.
Bryzgalov last played with the Edmonton Oilers and Minnesota Wild in 2013-14. The 34-year-old netminder appeared in 12 games with Minnesota, posting a 7-1-3 record, 2.12 goals-against average, .911 save percentage and three shutouts. He also appeared in nine postseason contests with the Wild, going 3-6-0 with a 2.63 GAA and .885 SV%.
Originally selected by Anaheim in the second round (44th overall) of the 2000 NHL Draft, the Togliatti, Russia native appeared in 69 games with the Ducks from 2001-07, posting a 26-23-8 record, 2.48 GAA and .909 SV%. Bryzgalov served as the backup netminder on Anaheim's 2007 Stanley Cup champion squad. Bryzgalov has appeared in 457 career games with Anaheim, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Edmonton and Minnesota, fashioning a 220-158-53 record, 2.56 GAA, .913 SV% and 34 shutouts.
On if he thought returning to Anaheim would ever be a possibility
To be honest? No. It was a big surprise for me. It’s a great place to play. I remember when I 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.
On his conditioning level
I’m not going to lie to you. After my training camp in Minnesota, I didn’t do much. I was busy with stuff back home, like taking the kids to school, taking them to practice and helping them homework. I was a full-time dad. I didn’t pay much attention to my physical condition. Right now, with [Strength and Conditioning Coach] Sean Skahan and [Goaltending Consultant] Dwayne Roloson, we’ve created a program to get myself into game shape as soon as possible.
On when he thinks he’ll be ready to play
I hope it’s going to be within 10 days. That’s the plan; as soon as possible. You never know how you’re going to feel the next day. I had a great workout today. There is lots of excitement. We’ll see how I feel tomorrow. I need to catch up because the team has already played lots of hockey. I don’t think it should take more than 10 days.
On reuniting with former teammates
Those are great guys. We won the Cup here. Great memories.
On when he last skated
The last time I skated was during Minnesota’s training camp in October, so two months ago.
On where he was when he was told about the tryout
I was driving home from Philly to New Jersey with my son, coming from a hockey tournament. My agent called me and asked what I was doing. He said maybe I should stop coaching if I still have a desire to play hockey. He told me Anaheim offered me a tryout contract and if I wanted to take it. I said That’s great. Let’s try because it’s a great opportunity. California is one of the best places on Earth.
On if there were any other offers
I had a couple offers, but not exactly from NHL teams. I wasn’t interested at that time.
On living in New Jersey
My son is going to school out there, plays hockey out there. My daughter has figure skating lessons out there. They have a busy schedule.
On if it was tough being on the outside looking in
For me, it wasn’t tough at all. I’ve been fortunate to play a long time in the NHL. Not only in the NHL, but I’ve played in almost every level. I was fortunate and thankful to everyone. I had a good career. There are some things you can’t control. Just enjoy your time with your family, be a full-time dad and develop your kids. If something comes up that’s accessible for you, and if it’s good for you, you have to take it. This is an opportunity we liked and this is why I’m here.
On practicing with the Ducks again
I have so many things connected with California. I was drafted by Anaheim and I was here for six and a half years. My son was born here and we built our first house here. We won the Stanley Cup here and I had a great time. It’s a beautiful state to live in. People who live here are very fortunate. That’s why I’m so attached. I love this place.
On what he envisions his role will be with Anaheim
I’m not hoping for anything. I’m only on a tryout contract. I came here to play hockey and play to my best abilities and help the team win games. The rest of the stuff? I don’t have to worry about it. My job is to practice hard and win games for the team. The coaches and management can figure out the rest of the stuff. You don’t have to worry about the things you can’t control.
On his personality
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.