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Ilya Bryzgalov Won't Move to Winnipeg If Phoenix Coyotes Move Back

Ilya Bryzgalov's play in the playoffs has contradicted his play in the season throughout his stay in Phoenix.
Ilya Bryzgalov's play in the playoffs has contradicted his play in the season throughout his stay in Phoenix.Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Matt EichelSenior Writer IApril 22, 2011

When Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov was asked why didn't want to move to Winnipeg if the Phoenix Coyotes franchise heads to the Manitoban capital, he responded, "Not many people live there, not many Russian people there. Plus it's cold. There's no excitement except the hockey.

"There's no park, no entertaining for the families, for the kids. It's going to be tough life for your family."

Is that so?

For a goaltender who has visited Winnipeg once or twice during his minor-league career, his rush to categorize the city is wrongly based and seemingly has a hint of hostilities over the entire proceedings with the rumours that have swirled around the team the past few years.

"I better go to somewhere in Russia, KHL, to be honest, because KHL is Russian people, its family, friends," the goalie said.

Bryzgalov, an unrestricted free agent this summer, just earned $4.5 million on the final season of a three-year, $12.75 million contract.

With his numbers during the regular season, the Coyotes seemed to have a chance to go deep in the playoffs, but bowed out in only four games to the Detroit Red Wings, a team they took to seven games the previous playoffs.

With the likelihood of a move to the Manitoban capital growing more and more realistic everyday, the number of high-profile Coyotes players who have rejected the possibility of going to Winnipeg has grown.

Even ex-Jet Shane Doan does not want to return to Winnipeg.

But with only 12 players signed for next season, the team, if in Winnipeg, could look much different than this year's version of the Coyotes.

For Winnipeg fans, that may be a positive thing.  A goalie making over $4 million each season complaining about the cold is spoiled.

As a Winnipeger, there are many things that anyone can do in the city.  Thus, Bryzgalov's statements are him blowing smoke and throwing a temper tantrum because he doesn't want to leave his cozy, Arizona home to play hockey, a sport he apparently loves to play, in a cold place.

I hate to break it to you, but teams that want to win do not need players of Ilya Bryzgalov's calibre, attitude or persuasion.

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