Hockey goalies are stereotypically crazy, but Philadelphia Flyers goalie Ilya Bryzgalov exceeds the stereotypes of an overpaid, maligned Russian hockey goaltender. He is whatever a much stronger version of an “oddball” is. He is an oddfield, or something. And because he made $10 million to be below average last year, Flyers fans aren’t fond of him. This angered the Russian and made him pop off on the media at the end of this season. He says funny things all the time. He also says confounding things.
Q. All journalists try to interview you. And is there a person who you would like to talk to?
“A lot of them are not alive anymore… I would love to talk to Genghis Khan, Stalin, Einstein.”
Stalin is a very controversial figure. How do you feel about him?
“Positive. I see logic in his action. Not without going too far, of course. But he came to power in a country that had just lived through a revolution. There were so many spies, enemies, traitors there. A lot of people still had guns after the civil war. The country was in ruins, [people] needed to survive somehow. The country needed to be rebuilt, and in order to do that it needed to be held in iron hands. Then WWII began. A lot of people came back from that war with guns as well. There was devastation all around, the country had to be rebuilt, had to be able to defend itself. There were so many criminals.”
Stalin took Russia in with a wooden plow and left it with nuclear weapons.
“Yes, he knew what he was doing. He is described as a ‘bloody tyrant.’ But at the time it couldn’t be any other way. Yes, there were innocent people who were victims of repressions… But it happens. Not long ago in the US a person was released from prison, who spent 45 years there. It turned out he was innocent. Can you imagine, a person spent his entire life in jail for something he didn’t do.”
And what would you ask Einstein?
“About her, of course…”
“Yes. He is an interesting person. Surely he had a lot of ideas and theories.”
Of course, I must throw the “he’s Russian and I think the interview was in Russian, so there could be translation/context issues,” caveat in here. Also, know that the interview was taken down.
It is probably not best for a disliked player to praise one of history’s biggest mass-murderers, but I am no expert. And I’m not sure he has anywhere to go but up, so perhaps this will engender him with the four Stalin/Flyers crossover fans that may exist.