It was fairly well known that after a tough loss, or a shelling, Bryz would not talk to the media when he was in Phoenix. He would stay in the shower area for as long as it took for the assembled media to leave. It was just how he was. We loved the big Russian for how he played. He won many games for the team and helped get them to the playoffs two years in a row. When we got to the playoffs, it was like we had a different goalie. He played different, looked different, let in soft goals. The fans in Phoenix bought his jersey, cheered him on, forgave him, and most of all we loved him. 8 years since you saw the playoffs is a long time for a franchise that depends on success or fans won’t show. Dealing with perennial underachieves like Arizona State University and University of Arizona football, the Phoenix Suns, and the Arizona Cardinals (except 1 magical run thanks to Kurt Warner), this state has seen its share of losers. Why emotionally invest when you know your heart is going to broken? And if you cannot emotionally invest, you are certainly not going to financially invest. Bryz picked up this team and carried them to the playoffs. Against arch rival Detroit. Every team can say Detroit is their enemy. We hate them. 2 years in a row, beaten in the first round by the evil winged wheel.
The offseason came, and word came Bryz wanted a new contract. He was an unrestricted free agent. Long term. Large dollars. Six to eight million per year. Philly came through and paid him the King’s Ransom. How is life in Philly? Does the media get you and treat you with kid gloves? Do your teammates cover for you? Do you have a backup who will always be there do defend and support you? Do you have a coaching staff who will take the slings and arrows meant for you?
I wish Bryz nothing but the best of luck. I really do. He was nothing but kind to me and my family when we saw him. He gave encouragement about being a goalie to my daughters. Words of wisdom. He tried to talk them out of it but also was happy they pledged to defend the paint. For what he gave the fans of Phoenix, we are thankful. For what we have now, we are even more.