Ducks goalie Bryzgalov returns home rather than to AHL
Anaheim Ducks goalie Ilya Bryzgalov makes a save on Washington Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer in the second period at Verizon Center. (Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)
The Anaheim Ducks announced goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has been placed on unconditional waivers and will return home for the remainder of the regular season. Bryzgalov was assigned to Norfolk on Tuesday, and made the decision to return home to Philadelphia after discussing the situation with his family and agent.
Bryzgalov, 34, appeared in eight NHL games this season, posting a 1-4-1 record with an .847 save percentage and 4.19 goals against average after signing a one-year, $2.8 million deal in December. A second-round pick by Anaheim in 2000, Bryzgalov won the Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007.
"At the beginning of the NHL season, I spent all of my time with my wife and my children," said Bryzgalov. "I drove my son and daughter to their practices and games and enjoyed life. I had no plans to return to the NHL this season until the Ducks reached out to my agent, Ritch Winter. I agreed to return because of my respect for the Ducks organization, the quality of the team they had assembled and my long relationship with (general manager) Bob Murray and the team. Given the way things have worked out, I have decided to return home to be with my wife and children, who did not move with me to Anaheim. It's not the way I had hoped things would work out. But when you can return to a family you love, could life be any better?"
Bryzgalov had played in two games for Norfolk earlier this season on a conditioning stint and originally accepted his second demotion Tuesday.
"Ilya has handled this difficult situation with class and dignity, and I fully understand and accept his decision," said Murray. "I have great respect for what he's accomplished in his career, and specifically what he's done for our franchise. He made an indelible mark on our club in the 2006 and 2007 playoffs and helped us to a championship. That's not something our organization and fans will soon forget. We wish him the best of luck in the future no matter what he decides to do."
Bryzgalov has played in 465 career NHL games, spending time with Anaheim, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Edmonton and Minnesota over his 12-year NHL career. He posted a 221-162-54 record with 34 shutouts, a 2.58 GAA and .912 save percentage. He was named a finalist for the 2010 Vezina Trophy after setting career highs in win (42), shutouts (8), GAA (2.29) and save percentage (.920) with the Coyotes.