With Bryzgalov’s future uncertain, Ducks turn to veteran LaBarbera as third goalie
As expected, Ducks’ backup goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov has cleared waivers and a decision on his future will come is likely to come on Tuesday.
The Ducks have decided to move forward throughout the rest of the season with Frederik Andersen as the No. 1 goalie and John Gibson as the backup. With Andersen still nursing a neck injury, Jason LaBarbera was called up from the AHL and flown in early this morning from the East Coast.
Bryzgalov was signed amid a string of injuries earlier this season. Gibson and LaBarbera were both put on IR and Andersen was in the midst of a stretch of 20-straight games as the starter. The Ducks signed him to a one year, $2.88 million contract. Bryzgalov didn’t have too many opportunities, playing in only eight games, but he won only once, allowing a total of 23 goals for a 4.19 GAA.
It doesn’t appear that one of the NHL’s most colorful characters has much left in the tank.
"Things work out, and sometimes they don’t. It’s always a gamble every time," said coach Bruce Boudreau. "I guess I just don’t want to talk too much about it, because Bob (Murray) is going to take care of it."
Murray, the Ducks general manager, plans to meet with Bryzgalov and his camp to discuss his plans moving forward Monday afternoon. Anaheim managed to lure him out of retirement and retirement appears to be the most likely option once again.
Gibson is expected to start in Tuesday’s game against the Red Wings (6:30 p.m. on FOX Sports West) with LaBarbera backing him up. LaBarbera has played in five games with the Ducks this season and won both of his decisions as a starter. In 22 games with Norfolk, he is 7-10 with a 2.42 GAA.
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) February 23, 2015
LaBarbera started two games over the weekend and then heard that Bryzgalov had ben put on waivers. A veteran backup, LaBarbera’s learned to expect the unexpected, and anticipated the call after the Admirals’ game in Bridgeport, Conn., Sunday night. He was then put a redeye from New York last night, arriving in Anaheim around 4:00 a.m., Monday morning.
"I feel like I’m in lala land a little bit," he said. "I kind of assumed something might happen after I saw what was going on with Bryz, and then they told me I was flying out a couple hours after the game … I always try to think one step ahead maybe a little bit. It probably drives you a little bit crazy maybe when you think about it like that but I don’t like surprises, so you maybe just brace yourself a little bit for stuff like that."