THE BRYZ WITCH HUNT BEGINS

Wanye
November 18 2013 03:44PM

New Oilers tendy Ilya Bryzgalov faced the media for the first time this afternoon after practice. A great many questions lobbed in his direction were cringe worthy as the assembled scribes baited the newest Oiler to say something colourful and give them the quote they had all trudged down in the snow to get.

IS THIS HOW IT IS GOING TO GO?

We have spent a good amount of time watching Bryz interviews since the Oilers announced that they were bringing him in on a one year deal. The guy is clearly a different breed and his interviews on HBO's 24/7 are the stuff of legend. And it is embarassing to watch the reporters in this scrum try and pry out quotes of a similar ilk.

Bryz seems genuinely happy to be in Edmonton and grateful for a chance to be back in the NHL. Is Edmonton is first choice? No. But is he sounding like someone trying to make the best of things? Yes. He pumped the Oilers "great heritage" wisely lumping in Lowe and MacT in with Gretzky and Messier and seems be a happy go lucky fellow fighting through English as a second language to make himself understood.

But this wasn't a Dany Heatley type attitude - the guy doesn't seem to have a mean bone in his body. This didn't seem to make any sort of the impressions on the hostile crowd of mics who wanted him to diss the city, the fans or anything really and asked only questions of the sort.

It's clear everyone covering the team is looking for him to say something crazy asap. "Do you think you suck?" "Don't you hate Philly?" "Isn't Edmonton crappy?" "Are you mad you were bought out?" The awkward questions just came at the poor guy rapid fire. We can't think of any other Oiler being raked over the coals in such a fashion - much less in his first day on the job.

You can hear Ryan Rishaug trying to be a tough guy asking the hard questions of the newest Oiler throughout the clip. It would be grand if he would take a similar approach with MacT, Eakins or Lowe who actually have had an impact in the product on the ice not a guy who hasn't even suited up in a single game but there you go. 

Bryz wasn't having it. He stayed positive, stayed classy and made it through the gauntlet unscathed.

FOR THE RECORD

We saw a panel over the weekend on one of the networks suggest that Bryz was being brought in as a designated dressing room distraction designed to take the heat off the underperforming mega studs. If the Oilers are going to get things righted again reclamation projects are going to be a key part of the re-re-rebuild. The Oilers need to be a place where players can come to turn things around in a positive place - not in some hostile environment like what we see in the scrum above. Hopefully Bryz's new team mates are a bit more welcoming.

Not everyone in Edmonton wants you to fail. In fact some of us want to see you dominate. I'll say it again: Не каждый в Эдмонтонских желаниях Вы, чтобы терпеть неудачу. Фактически некоторые из нас хотят видеть, что Вы возглавляете.

Good luck to you Bryz.

09049f03ecb006ab29372206f2a88f75
Blog so hard motherf**ckers try and find me. Email me at wanyegretz@gmail.com or tweet me @wanyegretz provided it is about Jordan Eberle or babes.
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#151 **
November 18 2013, 09:51PM
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if anything, Dubnyk has been playing far superior since the announcement Bryz was coming to town.

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#152 james_dean
November 18 2013, 09:53PM
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Rishaug was trying to dig too deep for a good quote

it will happen soon enough

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#153 Serious Gord
November 18 2013, 09:57PM
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Re: reporter ethics.

If you think rishaugs conduct was reprehensible, here is an example of what the Yankee reporter pool was like back in 1964 via David halberstams excellent book "1964" via a NYT column on the book:

"Among the new breed of sports reporter known as chipmunks was a writer who once asked a player about a telephone call that had interrupted an interview. When the reporter learned that the player's wife had been the caller and that she had been feeding their baby, he posed the un-locker-room-like question, "Breast or bottle?""

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#154 james_dean
November 18 2013, 09:58PM
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@-30-

I agree 100%

Hope tsn dumps you rishaug. Tasteless

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#155 DSF
November 18 2013, 10:02PM
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Harlie wrote:

Cliches and platitudes and those lip smackin' mm mm good baby back ribbbbbs from TR's.

Pretty much sums it up.

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#156 PandaBearJelly
November 18 2013, 10:17PM
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@DSF

Dear lord this is the most ridiculous argument I have seen in a while. Do you two even know what you are fighting about anymore? seriously... Argument for the sake of argument.

In the end you are both saying the same thing. In the here and now, the Oil are a very poor team. You can look at the advanced stats or the simple narrative and you find yourself with the same story.

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#157 PandaBearJelly
November 18 2013, 10:18PM
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@DSF

Dear lord this is the most ridiculous argument I have seen in a while. Do you two even know what you are fighting about anymore? seriously... Argument for the sake of argument.

In the end you are both saying the same thing. In the here and now, the Oil are a very poor team. You can look at the advanced stats or the simple narrative and you find yourself with the same story.

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#158 camdog
November 18 2013, 10:20PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Umm… so we're back to square one…

the Oilers were playing better (having better shot differentials) earlier

than they are now (much much worse shot differentials)

against some teams that have very poor shot differentials (Tor, WPG, Caps)

and some that have very good shot differentials (Habs, Devils, Pens).

So… reality.

The Oilers and every other Western Conference Team have better stats this season, than last year. It can not be under stated how weak the Eastern Conference is when compared to the Western Conference and to start the season the Oilers played a significant amount of games against the east. This skewed the results to make it look like the Oilers were improving, when in fact they were just playing easier competition.

Against Western Conference teams the Oilers have a signifcantly worse shot differntial this season then they did last season.

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#159 DSF
November 18 2013, 10:24PM
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camdog wrote:

The Oilers and every other Western Conference Team have better stats this season, than last year. It can not be under stated how weak the Eastern Conference is when compared to the Western Conference and to start the season the Oilers played a significant amount of games against the east. This skewed the results to make it look like the Oilers were improving, when in fact they were just playing easier competition.

Against Western Conference teams the Oilers have a signifcantly worse shot differntial this season then they did last season.

This.

Good grief, how hard is it to understand this?

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#160 DSF
November 18 2013, 10:28PM
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PandaBearJelly wrote:

Dear lord this is the most ridiculous argument I have seen in a while. Do you two even know what you are fighting about anymore? seriously... Argument for the sake of argument.

In the end you are both saying the same thing. In the here and now, the Oil are a very poor team. You can look at the advanced stats or the simple narrative and you find yourself with the same story.

No, we're not arguing the same thing.

Foghorn Leghorn is arguing the Oilers were "better" early this season based on their Corsi/Fenwick/ Fibonacci Sequence but, in fact, they were merely playing weak opposition.

As mentioned above, their shot differential against good WC teams is -41.

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#161 Pouzar99
November 18 2013, 10:31PM
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Yes, I mostly agree with what DSF says about the Bryz interview, but once you have asked it a few times and the player has gone as far as he is going to go, you have to let go unless you have a very different angle. You can hardly compare the Bryz situation with grilling a politician about a scandal.

While I do not wholly disagree with your comment about sports reporters, I think you underestimate just how tough their job is. It is a great deal easier to ask a politician a tough question than a football player or hockey player, who is accustomed to settling disagreements violently. I have total admiration for the courage of Cam Cole, Robin and many others who write critical things about these people and then show up in the locker room the next day and face them. I suspect I would be sweating like a pig. Give them credit. I have been face-to-face with unhappy cops but nothing quite compares to the confrontations I experienced in the one major sports story I did.

All beat reporters face the same worry; being cut out of the loop and getting beaten to stories by their less challenging rivals.

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#162 Crackenbury
November 18 2013, 10:34PM
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I'd love to throw in my 2 cents about Rishaug and the news conference, but I didn't hear it. Judging from the posts on this board he must have been an unbelievable jerk. I can't reconcile that with what I've seen from him in the past.

Were his questions really that inappropriate? What exactly could have been that bad? Why are Gregor and Brownlee supporting Rishaug, while most of the posters on this board seem to have a different view?

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#163 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 18 2013, 10:45PM
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DSF wrote:

Habs: -1.1 SH/G

Devils: +0.9 SH/G

Those are not very good shot differentials...they stink.

The Penguins, as I noted earlier, are a very good team and their record shows it.

Might want to take a look at the shot differentials against the good teams I mentioned earlier.

It ain't pretty.

Here I'll get you started.

Game 1 - Winnipeg Jets 38F 28A (still managed to lose the game)

Game 2 - Vancouver Canucks 23F 44A (oops...good team)

Game 3 - New Jersey Devils 27F 25A (crappy EC team)

Game 4 - Montreal Canadiens 28F 27A (mediocre EC team)

Game 5 - Toronto Maple Leafs 31F 26A (everyone outshoots the Leafs)

Game 6 - Washington Capitals 20F 20A (mediocre EC team)

Game 7 - Pittsburgh Penguins 22F 28A (oops another good team)

Game 8 - New York Islanders 29F 40A (shameful)

Game 9 - Ottawa Senators 21F 36 A (shameful)

Game 10 - Montreal Canadiens 32F 32A (against a weak EC team)

Game 11 - Washington 31F 26A (another weak EC team)

Game 12 - Phoenix Coyotes 30F 28A (good job!)

Game 13 - Los Angles Kings 18F 40A (oh the humanity)

Game 14 - Toronto Maple Leafs 43F 26A (and they lost 4-0)

Game 15 - Florida Panthers 27F 23A (Florida.)

Now, take a close look at the shot differential against WC teams who are currently in the playoffs. (-41)

It gets worse from here.

The Devils at 11th in the league in shots % are "crappy"?

Cool!

The Habs at 16th in the league, however, are "mediocre"?

interesting.

I'm not convinced those words mean what you think they mean.

At any rate, all these numbers do it restate what everyone but yourself acknowledges: They were playing better and then worse.

This marvel of information, of course, escapes you!

But, how can someone who can't sort out "mediocre" from "crappy" adequately be expected to do any better?

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#164 Taylor Gang
November 18 2013, 10:47PM
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Bryz is back mofos!

Am I allowed to say that?

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#165 VK63
November 18 2013, 10:47PM
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I actually used to enjoy Shaugger, when he was upbeat and comical but this wallowing in negativity thing is quite tedious.

He's on a bit of a roll. I thought his coverage of the Yak thing was tainted with over the top personal indignation that turned sour. I didn't think it warranted the venom but it seemed the flavour of the week for the lemmings and he made a large effort to lead the charge. ~(yay!)~ The organizations hands off handling of the entire affair was rather odd as well but reconciling odd and this organization is not an exercise I am willing to invest much time into.

This Bryz presser is both hilarious and as wanye points out ...disturbing. What seems evident from the clip is that A) Bryz was predictably ready for the junk questions B) Bryz is not as dumb as those who would try and bait him C) Bryz enjoys the sparring

I too am quite fond of him already.

Solid piece again Wanye!!

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#166 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 18 2013, 10:49PM
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camdog wrote:

The Oilers and every other Western Conference Team have better stats this season, than last year. It can not be under stated how weak the Eastern Conference is when compared to the Western Conference and to start the season the Oilers played a significant amount of games against the east. This skewed the results to make it look like the Oilers were improving, when in fact they were just playing easier competition.

Against Western Conference teams the Oilers have a signifcantly worse shot differntial this season then they did last season.

Except for the EC teams we are discussing, or do you only deal in generalities?

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#167 Cynic
November 18 2013, 10:50PM
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Because they all eat at the same buffet table in the press room. And work for the same company. Fans, on the other hand, wonder why Bryzgalov can't just play some hockey before the blowdried media weasels try to manufacture some quotes.

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#168 DSF
November 18 2013, 10:53PM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

Yes, I mostly agree with what DSF says about the Bryz interview, but once you have asked it a few times and the player has gone as far as he is going to go, you have to let go unless you have a very different angle. You can hardly compare the Bryz situation with grilling a politician about a scandal.

While I do not wholly disagree with your comment about sports reporters, I think you underestimate just how tough their job is. It is a great deal easier to ask a politician a tough question than a football player or hockey player, who is accustomed to settling disagreements violently. I have total admiration for the courage of Cam Cole, Robin and many others who write critical things about these people and then show up in the locker room the next day and face them. I suspect I would be sweating like a pig. Give them credit. I have been face-to-face with unhappy cops but nothing quite compares to the confrontations I experienced in the one major sports story I did.

All beat reporters face the same worry; being cut out of the loop and getting beaten to stories by their less challenging rivals.

I think the one thing that makes sports reporting more difficult is the ability of sports teams to control access.

While most public figures have no or limited control over media access, sports teams can easily shut out troublesome reporters or, at least, make it very difficult for them to do their jobs.

In this day and age, if an athlete physically attacked a reporter his career would be over while, as we've seen with the EPS harassment of Edmonton journalists, the police and other public figures can find more insidious ways of striking out.

So much of a journalists mojo comes from how supportive his employer is if he treads on dangerous ground.

I'm intensely curious about the major sports story you covered.

Can you share anything?

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#169 james_dean
November 18 2013, 10:53PM
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Crackenbury wrote:

I'd love to throw in my 2 cents about Rishaug and the news conference, but I didn't hear it. Judging from the posts on this board he must have been an unbelievable jerk. I can't reconcile that with what I've seen from him in the past.

Were his questions really that inappropriate? What exactly could have been that bad? Why are Gregor and Brownlee supporting Rishaug, while most of the posters on this board seem to have a different view?

When one of my friends is getting beaten down, right or wrong i will always jump in.

Cant fault the nation boys

Its the bro mentality and you gotta respect that

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#170 DSF
November 18 2013, 10:55PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

The Devils at 11th in the league in shots % are "crappy"?

Cool!

The Habs at 16th in the league, however, are "mediocre"?

interesting.

I'm not convinced those words mean what you think they mean.

At any rate, all these numbers do it restate what everyone but yourself acknowledges: They were playing better and then worse.

This marvel of information, of course, escapes you!

But, how can someone who can't sort out "mediocre" from "crappy" adequately be expected to do any better?

Sorry Sparky but teams that couldn't compete in hockey's best division are mediocre...at best.

Check standings...swallow hard.

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#171 Cynic
November 18 2013, 11:03PM
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Did anyone at the media scrum ask about Bryzgalov's Corgis? Because if this site has taught me anything, it's that Corgis are a big deal.

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#172 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 18 2013, 11:03PM
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DSF wrote:

Sorry Sparky but teams that couldn't compete in hockey's best division are mediocre...at best.

Check standings...swallow hard.

I'll take this as a non-sequitur for your benefit, (even under these loose conditions this makes no sense).

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#173 DSF
November 18 2013, 11:06PM
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** wrote:

if anything, Dubnyk has been playing far superior since the announcement Bryz was coming to town.

Randomness is your friend.

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#174 DSF
November 18 2013, 11:07PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

I'll take this as a non-sequitur for your benefit, (even under these loose conditions this makes no sense).

I'm not in the least surprised that you can't understand a "simple narrative".

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#175 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 18 2013, 11:10PM
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DSF wrote:

I'm not in the least surprised that you can't understand a "simple narrative".

Your simple narrative being "The Habs play in the best division and are mediocre at best"?

I understand the grammar of it, certainly. The logical relation to reality is harder to parse.

Maybe once I figure out how "crappy" is better than "mediocre" I be able to work it out.

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#176 Dog Train
November 18 2013, 11:11PM
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I hate how people keep calling Bryz 'controversial' or a 'cancer'. He's a quirky guy for sure but the media are such idiots when they ask him dumb questions directly after a tough game. I have to give hockey players credit, if I had to deal with the moronic questions that they get asked on a daily basis, I would be fined regularly. The media sure isn't helping make people feel comfortable in Edmonton after the whole Yakupov thing and now this.

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#177 DSF
November 18 2013, 11:19PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Your simple narrative being "The Habs play in the best division and are mediocre at best"?

I understand the grammar of it, certainly. The logical relation to reality is harder to parse.

Maybe once I figure out how "crappy" is better than "mediocre" I be able to work it out.

No, the Habs play in a very weak division and conference and would be also rans in the WC.

Once you figure out that crappy and mediocre are synonyms I'm sure you'll do a bit better.

Until then, consider Chaos Theory...it's a lot of fun and has immense applications to the game of hockey.

"Ferroelectric materials are known for their ability to spontaneously switch polarization when an electric field is applied.

Using a scanning probe microscope, the ORNL-led team took advantage of this property to draw areas of switched polarization called domains on the surface of a ferroelectric material. To the researchers' surprise, when written in dense arrays, the domains began forming complex and unpredictable patterns on the material's surface.

"When we reduced the distance between domains, we started to see things that should have been completely impossible," said ORNL's Anton Ievlev, the first author on the paper published in Nature Physics. "All of a sudden, when we tried to draw a domain, it wouldn't form, or it would form in an alternating pattern like a checkerboard. At first glance, it didn't make any sense. We thought that when a domain forms, it forms. It shouldn't be dependent on surrounding domains."

After studying patterns of domain formation under varying conditions, the researchers realized the complex behavior could be explained through chaos theory.

One domain would suppress the creation of a second domain nearby but facilitate the formation of one farther away—a precondition of chaotic behavior, says ORNL's Sergei Kalinin, who led the study.

"Chaotic behavior is generally realized in time, not in space," he said.

"An example is a dripping faucet: sometimes the droplets fall in a regular pattern, sometimes not, but it is a time-dependent process.

To see chaotic behavior realized in space, as in our experiment, is highly unusual."

Have you ever watched a faucet drip and tried to predict the pattern.

I have.

Why didn't the dog bark?

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#178 Romulus' Apotheosis
November 18 2013, 11:28PM
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@DSF

Non sequitur was a better interpretation then.

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#179 DSF
November 18 2013, 11:37PM
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Romulus' Apotheosis wrote:

Non sequitur was a better interpretation then.

"Chaotic behavior is generally realized in time, not in space,"

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#180 David S
November 19 2013, 12:43AM
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DSF wrote:

No, the Habs play in a very weak division and conference and would be also rans in the WC.

Once you figure out that crappy and mediocre are synonyms I'm sure you'll do a bit better.

Until then, consider Chaos Theory...it's a lot of fun and has immense applications to the game of hockey.

"Ferroelectric materials are known for their ability to spontaneously switch polarization when an electric field is applied.

Using a scanning probe microscope, the ORNL-led team took advantage of this property to draw areas of switched polarization called domains on the surface of a ferroelectric material. To the researchers' surprise, when written in dense arrays, the domains began forming complex and unpredictable patterns on the material's surface.

"When we reduced the distance between domains, we started to see things that should have been completely impossible," said ORNL's Anton Ievlev, the first author on the paper published in Nature Physics. "All of a sudden, when we tried to draw a domain, it wouldn't form, or it would form in an alternating pattern like a checkerboard. At first glance, it didn't make any sense. We thought that when a domain forms, it forms. It shouldn't be dependent on surrounding domains."

After studying patterns of domain formation under varying conditions, the researchers realized the complex behavior could be explained through chaos theory.

One domain would suppress the creation of a second domain nearby but facilitate the formation of one farther away—a precondition of chaotic behavior, says ORNL's Sergei Kalinin, who led the study.

"Chaotic behavior is generally realized in time, not in space," he said.

"An example is a dripping faucet: sometimes the droplets fall in a regular pattern, sometimes not, but it is a time-dependent process.

To see chaotic behavior realized in space, as in our experiment, is highly unusual."

Have you ever watched a faucet drip and tried to predict the pattern.

I have.

Why didn't the dog bark?

Man. I love the booze too, but you gotta watch when you let the liquor loose and you start cruising fan forums. No good can come of it.

Ahem...uh so they say anyways. *Looks skyward, starts whistling*

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#181 Hoozonphirst
November 19 2013, 01:59AM
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Edited by Wanye

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#182 Pouzar99
November 19 2013, 03:00AM
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Okay, DSF, I will indulge your curiosity. It was the story about Grant Fuhr's cocaine problem that Dave Staples and I did together, with Cam Cole coming in at the end to write columns about it. That would be about 23 years ago. Lets just say Dave and I have some pretty good war stories to tell about that one. My wild encounter with Glen Sather the day before it ran certainly outstripped anything I have experienced in the biz before or since.

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#183 Walter Sobchak
November 19 2013, 03:43AM
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DSF wrote:

No, we're not arguing the same thing.

Foghorn Leghorn is arguing the Oilers were "better" early this season based on their Corsi/Fenwick/ Fibonacci Sequence but, in fact, they were merely playing weak opposition.

As mentioned above, their shot differential against good WC teams is -41.

Whatever you guys are arguing about I don't really care.

This was just brilliant though!!

Foghorn Leghorn and the Fibonacci sequence made me spit my whisky right out of my nose!

Well played.

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#184 DrunkGuyTy
November 19 2013, 06:40AM
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DSF wrote:

So, what you are saying, in effect, is that any public figure should be above scrutiny unless the media member is directly paying or screwing the public figure?

Have I got that right?

No DSF, you twit. If that's what I was saying, I would have said that. You can scrutinize all you want. But these guys don't require your validation or personal approval for anything at all.

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#185 RUkiddingme?
November 19 2013, 07:47AM
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The Hall Way wrote:

Did he say, he skated one week in Glaucoma???!!

I understood every word he said, just curious, how's your russian?

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#186 Rob...
November 19 2013, 07:56AM
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@DSF

"Ferroelectric materials are known for their ability to spontaneously switch polarization when an electric field is applied."

How is it 'spontaneous' if the reverse polarization only occurs when an electric field is applied? I'm pretty sure that's the opposite of spontaneous.

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#187 Spurzey
November 19 2013, 08:19AM
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DSF is Dave Hester

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#188 Randomhero79
November 19 2013, 08:57AM
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as usual Sir.Wanye, great article. The Edmonton media scrums are starting to look like a gaggle of 14 year old girls, creating drama out of anything and whining about it when they get called on it. Not saying all media guys, or all 14 year old girls are like this, just 85% of them

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#189 Harlie
November 19 2013, 09:42AM
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Pouzar99 wrote:

Okay, DSF, I will indulge your curiosity. It was the story about Grant Fuhr's cocaine problem that Dave Staples and I did together, with Cam Cole coming in at the end to write columns about it. That would be about 23 years ago. Lets just say Dave and I have some pretty good war stories to tell about that one. My wild encounter with Glen Sather the day before it ran certainly outstripped anything I have experienced in the biz before or since.

Hi Tom!

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#190 Poly
November 19 2013, 09:47AM
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Cynic wrote:

Did anyone at the media scrum ask about Bryzgalov's Corgis? Because if this site has taught me anything, it's that Corgis are a big deal.

So awesome.

I did some research and his Corgi's are very impressive. They are like hot blondes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZVqbTVa7LBU

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#191 Czar
November 19 2013, 10:08AM
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@DSF

"Swallow hard."

Story of your life or a trade secret there Fluffy?

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#192 nunyour
November 19 2013, 10:48AM
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So the media has sent the bar,can't wait for the next Klowe interview.

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#193 nunyour
November 19 2013, 10:50AM
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So the media has set the bar,can't wait for the next Klowe interview.

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#194 woodenshoes
November 19 2013, 12:37PM
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DSF wrote:

I'm not sure this blog represent the general public very well at all.

There are some concerns about Bryzgalov's past behaviour outlined quite well by Spector here:

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/bryzgalov-officially-brings-his-act-to-oilers/

Make note of Ryan Smyth's comments.

Give me a break, the only thing ever "outlined quite well by Spector" is his shadow on a sunny day. Mark Spector is a tool, using him as reference to make your point doesn't...

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