Bryzgalov sees bright side as Ducks cut him

Anaheim Ducks goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov comments after a losing performance in his first start of the season.

The Anaheim Ducks are cutting their losses with a $2.88-million experiment.

The team placed goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov — a riddle wrapped in philosophy and expensive padding, then dropped between quote marks — on unconditional waivers Thursday with the intent of terminating his contract.

Bryzgalov will return to his family home in Philadelphia; he will not play another game this season.

“At the beginning of the NHL season, I spent all of my time with my wife and my children,” Bryzgalov said in a statement released by the Ducks. “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?”

The Ducks waived the veteran netminder and assigned him to the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals earlier this week, but Bryzgalov asked Murray for a day to consider whether or not he would report to the minor-league affiliate.

“I tried to get a goalie I knew without giving anything up. It hasn’t worked out the way Bryz or I wanted it to. I have a history with Bryz, and he won seven games for us the year we won the Cup. He played well in the playoffs last year in Minnesota. We took a chance and it didn’t work out for either of us the right way. Neither one of us feels very good about it,” Murray told reporters on a conference call Tuesday.

“We’ve already given up a [first-round pick] last year, [Nick] Bonino, a fourth-round and a seventh-round pick to get Nate [Thompson], we gave up [Luca] Sbisa. At some point, you’ve given up enough.”

The 34-year-old Bryzgalov appeared in just eight games for Anaheim this season, posting a 1-4-1 record, with a .847 save percentage.

The entertaining Russian split last season between the Wild and Edmonton Oilers after a brief stint in Las Vegas. He hasn’t played a full NHL season since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign he spent with the Philadelphia Flyers.

Bryzgalov was drafted 44th overall in 2000 by the Mighty Ducks and made his NHL debut with Anaheim in 2001-02. He won a Stanley Cup with the team in 2007, backing up Jean-Sebastien Giguere, but was waived that autumn and picked up by the Phoenix Coyotes.

In 465 NHL games, Bryzgalov has posted a career record of 221-162-54, with a .912 save percentage, 2.58 goals-against average and 34 shutouts.

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