THE BRYZ WITCH HUNT BEGINS

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.