SUN Hockey Pool

Bryzgalov understands his role with Flyers

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:01 PM ET

Ilya Bryzgalov is no history major but he understands the importance of playing goal for the Philadelphia Flyers.

It's been more than 35 years since the Flyers won the Stanley Cup and, for most of the past decade anyway, a big reason for the drought has been the lack of quality goaltending. That shortcoming appears to have been addressed with the signing of former Phoenix Coyotes star Bryzgalov to a nine-year, $51.5 million contract.

"I want to be the guy who can carry this team," Bryzgalov said on a conference call with Philadelphia-area reporters Monday. "I don't know what else to say. I want to help this team win the Stanley Cup because people in Philadelphia and the whole organization have waited long enough.

"I want to win ... I understand this is what I want and this is where I want to spend the rest of my career and compete for the Stanley Cup. This is a good spot for me. I like the ideas and the philosophy of the team."

The Flyers moved a pair of star forwards -- captain Mike Richards to the L.A. Kings and Jeff Carter to the Columbus Blue Jackets -- to clear enough cap space to sign Bryzgalov so now the pressure of winning falls squarely on the Russian netminder.

During his time with the Coyotes, he was one of the best regular-season goalies in the league. But Bryzgalov has faltered in the playoffs, particularly last season, a trait that won't endure him to the Flyers faithful if it continues.

"I know I can play in the playoffs," he said. "I played before. I expect from myself much better in the future."

VOKOUN NO. 1

Newly-signed Washington Capitals goalie Tomas Vokoun will start training camp as the main man in net.

Vokoun, signed to a one-year, $1.5 million contract on July 2, gets the nod over Michal Neuvirth, according to coach Bruce Boudreau.

"We're always going to play who we think is the best, but if you're looking at a guy that has experience and everything and has been a No. 1 goalie, you have to give Vokoun the respect that he's coming in and going to be the No. 1 guy," Boudreau said on NHL.com. "We'll see where it goes from there."

The signing of Vokoun means youngster Braden Holtby will likely open the season with Hershey of the AHL. Neuvirth and Semyon Varlamov, who was traded to the Colorado Avalanche July 1, shared the Caps' goaltending duties last season while Holtby shined in a mid-season cameo.

NO MOVEMENT ON MARCHAND

Forward Brad Marchand remains the Boston Bruins lone unsigned restricted free agent.

Marchand, who had a coming-out party during the Bruins' run to the Stanley Cup with 11 playoff goals, is negotiating with Boston GM Peter Chiarelli but the two sides have not yet agreed to terms.

"We've continued to talk," Chiarelli told Boston radio station WEEI. "We've had some discussion, and we'll leave it at that."

Marchand had 21 goals and 20 assists in 77 regular-season games with the Bruins before exploding for 11 goals and eight assists in 25 playoff games.

CZECH PIONEER DIES

Jaroslav Jirik, the first Czech allowed by communist authorities to play in the NHL, has died. He was 71.

Jirik died Monday in a crash of his ultralight one-seat plane in the city of Brno, about 200 kilometres southeast of Prague.

St. Louis Blues assistant general manager Cliff Fletcher, under GM Scotty Bowman, actually signed three Czech players in 1969, but Jirik, who was 30, was the only one allowed to leave for North America.

A five-time 20-goal scorer in the Czech league, Jirik had no points in three NHL games in 1969-70, although he did score a disallowed goal. He spent most of that season with the Blues' Kansas City farm club, getting 19 goals in 53 games.

Jirik turned down an invitation to play for the Blues in 1970-71 season. He played five more seasons in the Czech league and then turned to coaching. He coached Switzerland's national team during the late 1970s.

Fletcher also signed Jan Havel, 27, and Josef Horesovsky, 23, in 1969 but they were deemed by the Czech government to be too young to be released.

MACDONALD BACK WITH WINGS

The Detroit Red Wings and goaltender Joey MacDonald agreed to terms on a two-year contract Monday.

MacDonald, 31, had a 5-5-3 record with a 2.58 goals-against average and one shutout in 15 games last season with the Wings.

The native of Pictou, N.S., has a career mark of 23-43-12 in 87 appearances with the Wings, Boston Bruins, New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs.

CAPS SIGN HANSON

The Washington Capitals have signed centre Christian Hanson to a one-year contract.

Hanson, 25, had 13 goals and 21 assists in 58 games last season with the Toronto Marlies of the AHL and appeared in six games with the Maple Leafs, recording no points.

The native of Venetia, Pa., has three goals and six assists in 42 career NHL games over three seasons with the Leafs.

SEXTON STICKS WITH DUCKS

The Anaheim Ducks have signed right winger Dan Sexton to a two-year contract. Financial details were not released.

Sexton had four goals and nine assists in 47 games with the Ducks in 2010-11, while getting nine goals and eight assists in 17 games with Syracuse of the AHL.

The 24-year-old from Apple Valley, Minn., has 13 goals and 19 assists in 88 career NHL games over two seasons with the Ducks.

SENS GETTIN' SWEATT-Y

Defenceman Lee Sweatt signed a two-year, two-way contract with the Ottawa Senators Monday.

Sweatt, 25, spent last season in the Vancouver Canucks organization. He had five goals and nine assists in 41 games with Manitoba of the AHL and one goal and one assist in three games with the Canucks.

The Sens also signed defenceman Tim Conboy to a one-year, two-way contract. He had 12 assists and a career-high 233 penalty minutes in 70 games with Portland of the AHL last season.

'HAWKS INK TWO

The Chicago Blackhawks agreed to terms with minor-leaguers Rob Klinkhammer and Alec Richards Monday.

Klinkhammer, a forward, agreed to a one-year contract while goaltender Richards got a two-year deal.

Both players spent last season with Rockford of the AHL, although Klinkhammer made his NHL debut against the Dallas Stars in December.

PROMO FOR GORTON

The New York Rangers promoted Jeff Gorton to assistant general manager Monday.

Gorton, who has been with the Rangers the last four years, was previously the team's assistant director of player personnel. He's also been assistant GM and interim GM with the Boston Bruins.

The Rangers also bumped up Kevin Maxwell, making him the director of professional scouting. Maxwell has also worked for Dallas, the New York Islanders and Hartford Whalers. 


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