On Thursday, star net-minder Ilya Bryzgalov will make his KHL debut. The Philadelphia Flyers 'keeper is expected to feature for his new side CSKA when they travel to Traktor.
The Tolyatti native hasn't played club hockey in Russia for over a decade. During the last NHL lock-out he stayed in North America.
Even though he is separated from his family for the time being, he says hockey comes first because that is his profession, and that he couldn’t waste a wonderful opportunity to join a club like CSKA.
“It was nice to have an invitation from such a legendary team. It’s a great opportunity for me and a big honor to join the Red Army. If you remember how many great players came from their hockey school and how many big names played for the Red Army,” he says.
He watched his first game when CSKA managed to beat Avangard by a goal to zero, though didn't take to the ice himself, although the 32 year old is expecting to play on Thursday.
Bryzgalov says he's not here for a holiday, and will be giving everything to help his new club get as far in the play-offs as possible.
“I will give the team my best,” he pledges.
It's obviously a distraction for Bryzgalov to be without his family for the moment, though he hopes to get this situation resolved shortly. Being a world class netminder he is sure to give his new club CSKA a massive boost this season.