So far, coach Eakins says that the decision to add Ilya Brzygalov to the Oilers crease has been a good one.
“I think he’s comfortable with his situation here. He knows how the game goes. This isn’t a young player coming who’s not quite sure how it works. He’s a veteran guy. He understands that whoever’s hot and whoever’s winning is going to be in the net. If it’s the other guy, he’s good with it. All that Bryz wants is our team to win. He’ll get his chance to run with it now and that’s what you need in the room. It’s all about the team success, not the individual’s ice time or the individual being on the power play or the individual being put with certain players, it should be about the team winning and that’s a real breath of fresh air for us.”
The bench boss added that Bryzgalov has fit in really well in the dressing room so far with the team as a whole in addition to being in a mentorship role with the club's other two Russians, Anton Belov and Nail Yakupov.
“The one thing I did ask of him was to try to help along and mentor Belov and Yakupov. I thought that was important. He’s such a friendly soul and he’s an intelligent guy. The one thing I have noticed is that he’s really fit in quickly with our group. I see him interacting and talking a lot and he’s keeping it light out there, even with his hard work in practice."
Coach Eakins remarked that today Bryzgalov was having some fun with the drills in Leduc.
"There’s a couple of things that happened in practice here today where (he made) a couple of big point-blank saves and in a cheering way, he’s yelling to me ‘there’s no cheating in this net, there’s no cheating in this crease.’ It was a message but he was saying it in a funny way so it kept it light."