Ilya Bryzgalov talks Jagr, Las Vegas, hot dogs in Players’ Tribune

With the news that the Anaheim Ducks have signed Ilya Bryzgalov, we can’t help remember some of his great sound bytes from past seasons.

Everyone loves Ilya Bryzgalov, right? The man’s Instagram handle is “Bryzzly_Bear” for goodness sakes. How can you not cheer for the guy?

The former NHL netminder became one of most enigmatic and entertaining personalities in hockey during his time with the Ducks, Coyotes, Flyers, Oilers and Wild.

Bryzgalov hasn’t played pro hockey since a short stint with the Ducks in 2014-15, but he recently sat down with The Players’ Tribune to answer some fan questions.

An outgoing personality combined with his broken English makes listening to Bryzgalov a joy. For example, this is how he answered the popular question: “Is a hot dog a sandwich?”

Here are a few more of his notable answers from the interview…

On a possible return to the NHL…

“I’m having lots of fun coaching my son and helping his team a little bit. My son, he would love me to get back to the NHL and start playing again. I would love to do that too but there were some difficulties. If you start the petition and sign it maybe somebody will sign me for the next year, you know, like everything is in your hands.

On former Philadelphia Flyers teammate Jaromir Jagr

“Once we was back after the pre-season game in New Jersey and it was like 1 a.m. in the morning. I walk out of the bus and Jagr was in the gym working [out]. I was impressed. I was like, ‘What the hell are you doing? It’s like 1 a.m. in the morning. You should be in bed.’ And he answered like, ‘I do that a lot.’ I was like, ‘Wow. Okay, man. You have some issues.’”

On the NHL expanding to Las Vegas…

“I think it’s a great idea. It’s a city where you can get any entertainment besides the hockey (he added a wink to that part). I think the city deserves to have an NHL team. There is lots of people, lots of tourists. If they can provide a good product I think stands will be filled. It’s going to help develop hockey in this region.”

On his coaches when he was on the Coyotes…

“Dave Tippett, he’s a great coach, great person. You can feel it when you play for a coach who has no doubt in you no matter what you do. No matter how many mistakes you did he still believes in you and gives you so much boost. Also, Sean Burke was on the team as my goalie coach. They put so much trust in me.

Also Wayne Gretzky when he was a coach in Phoenix. He believed in me. He never looked my way like [Tippett and Burke] if I did mistake. It’s great when the coach just believing in you. It gives you wings to perform.”

On the best game he ever played…

“I have lots of good games, you guys. One of the most memorable was when we beat Team Canada in the world championship in the final, 2-1. We win the gold medal. This is one of the most memorable games and I had a lot of great games to remember.”

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