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Author: Inna Kovaleva and Yekaterina Baleva (Moscow Hockey Newspaper)
Translated By: Yevgeniy Belashchenko
Date: March 15th, 2000
Ilya Bryzgalov: I Regard Disappointment Philosophically

Ilya Bryzgalov, Lada’s young goaltender, is undoubtedly known to the hockey fans in Moscow by his play for Moscow’s Spartak at the beginning of the 99-00 season. Besides that, Ilya proved himself very well as the starting goalie of the Russian Junior National Team at the international tournaments of this season. Our meeting occurred right after the conclusion of the quarterfinals playoffs match against Dynamo Moscow, after which the overall series became 3:1 in favor of Dynamo and Lada was eliminated from the playoffs.

I. Bryzgalov: First the deserved needs to be given to each of Dynamo’s players. In the end the level of ability is clearly higher. In every moment of the game their determination could be easily seen, each battled till the end, giving it all their strength. What can I say, Dynamo won a deserving victory. We, of course, could have tried harder, considering that the last two games occurred in Togliatti in front of a huge fan support, but it seems that Dynamo wanted the victory more. Of course on several occasions I could not avoid making mistakes either, though it is all in the past. I just want to say thanks to the fans that came to support us. It is always pleasant to see filled up stands, which are supporting you and not booing you.

Moscow Hockey: What are you plans for the remainder of the season and vacation?

I. Bryzgalov: Until the first of May, our team will continue to train, and then we are going on vacation. I don’t have any specific plans, I want to go somewhere to relax.

Moscow Hockey: Did you choose your road own road in sports?

I. Bryzgalov: At two I got a hockey stick from my godfather and loved hockey so much that I was crazy from it.

Moscow Hockey: Did you decide right away to become a goaltender?

I. Bryzgalov: No quite. The thing is that I did not skate well and when the time came for youth hockey school, then I got into the net: thinking I will stay here for a little bit while I learn how to skate and then switch positions. Gradually I began to like my position and I things started to work out, so I remained in the “frame”.

Moscow Hockey: What role did your first coach have in your life?

I. Bryzgalov: A very big one. My first coach was Alexander Konstantinovich Konovalov, he gave a lot of his strength to the team. I can clearly judge by my example: when I had a tough period in my life, he, you can say, took me off the streets. I was 13 and I was lead a bit in the wrong direction. Alexander Konstantinovich helped me to acknowledge this and since then has always shown his support.

Moscow Hockey: Did he work with you individually as with a goalie?

I. Bryzgalov: No, no one worked with me individually and taught me goaltending.

Moscow Hockey: Then it can be said that you have the intuition, with the help of which you often save the team from a dead end situation?

I. Bryzgalov: In my opinion, confidence in yourself, it comes with experience. But from another perspective, it is possible that there is talent – when you fall you don’t see the puck, but it seemingly by itself flies towards you. Sometimes I myself am surprised!

Moscow Hockey: Ilya do you think you have found yourself in hockey?

I. Bryzgalov: I play hockey for my enjoyment, I like it a lot. Hockey is not work for me, but simply a game and that is it. A game that I will continue playing while I have my health.

Moscow Hockey: What is the main trait of your character?

I. Bryzgalov: Determination and single-mindedness: if I set a goal before myself, then I will accomplish it in any way, no matter what it would take. I am also very self-critical, a a strict judge when it comes to myself is hard to find. Though I regard disappointments philosophically. If I was not such a person, then I think I could have had a breakdown after the penalty shot series in the Finals of the Junior competition in Sweden. Athletes have to have strong nerves and a clear mind.

Moscow Hockey: So what goals does the determined Lada goalie Ilya Bryzgalov have?

I. Bryzgalov: To become the best goalie in the NHL, nothing less! (laughing)

Moscow Hockey: You confidence in yourself is envious!

I. Bryzgalov: Some believe, thought, that this is self-confidence. But to be serious, so far I have not have any contacts with the NHL, maybe I will have some options this summer, we will see. First of all I will consider options in the NHL. Right now I am with Lada, though I don’t have a contract, and so far I am up in the air, and can leave the team at any moment.

Moscow Hockey: Who had to do with your appearance with Moscow’s Spartak?

I. Bryzgalov: I was sent to Moscow by Gennadiy Federovich Tsygurov, for conditioning. Vensan Riendou defended Lada’s net very well and I was sitting as a back up.

The situation was that both sides needed each other: I gained playing time and Spartak solved its goalie problem. In November after Riendou’s injury – Lada’s sarting goalie, I was recalled back to Togliatti.

Moscow Hockey: You have a fairly high save percentage in the games for the National Team, at the tournament in Sokolniki you were recognized as the best player in your position and only in Finland did our team allow 10 goals in 3 games. What are the comments regarding that of the starting goalie?

I. Bryzgalov: The starting goalie will say that we did not take coach’s instructions seriously and arrived at the tournament with a disorganized attitude and were not able to gain concentration while playing. That is where the result came from. Discipline on a team is one of the requirements for success.

Moscow Hockey: What will you remember the recently concluded season by?

I. Bryzgalov: This season was very important for me, and I am pleased with the fact that I was able to show stability in my play.

Moscow Hockey: Do you recall the World Championships?

I. Bryzgalov: To be honest, I don’t want to remember it. We gave a lot of our strength and each gave what they could that is why on the way to the final we did not lose a single point. In the end we still lost. For me that was a big disappointment and I try no tto think about disappointments, don’t see any reason it.

Moscow Hockey: Are you popular with the hockey fans in Togliatti?

I. Bryzgalov: You know, yes, especially with female fans. After the World Championship the female portion of our city’s population is displaying a heightened interest in me. The phone calls never end: “Hello Ilya, my name is Olya (Lena, Sveta, Natasha and etc.) And where did they find out my phone number? I answer “You got the wrong number”. I already have a girlfriend, Yulya, she is studying in the economics academy.

Moscow Hockey: What do you think about besides hockey?

I. Bryzgalov: I like to go to a movie with friends, to eat well, to hang out with the ladies, but again, everything has its limit, not to let my self go for no reason.

Moscow Hockey: What do you think a real friend should be like?

I. Bryzgalov: Friends have to be loyal, never betraying. I want to be confident in my close friends.

Moscow Hockey: Tell me about the people closest to you – your parents.

I. Bryzgalov: My parents don’t have any relation to hockey. My mom works at the textile factory, and my father at VAZ. Now that is work, I worked there for a month, carrying around glass, and understood that it is not for me. That is why I said that I enjoy hockey, so it is easier for me.

Moscow Hockey: Easier?!

I. Bryzgalov: Well, probably, I did not phrase it right. Not that it is easier physically, simply hockey gives me joy, hockey is new each time, hockey is intrigue, emotion, suspense.

I like that.

We thank Ilya Bryzgalov for the interview and wish this talented goalie from Togliatti health and success. We want to believe that this season will be the beginning of his bright career.

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