Ilya Bryzgalov is more than just a grossly overpaid goalie. He’s an existential stormtrooper, an avid Angry Birds player, and apparently a big Josef Stalin fan.
Whatever your thoughts on his play may be, it is hard to argue that Bryz is an absolute treasure trove of quirk and is fun to listen to.
Whether it be his dislike for the weather in Edmonton:
Or this unbelievably smooth segue from Russian Liqueur, to Tigers, to Chinese Law:
Bryz’s latest stunt came when he sat down to speak with Championat, a Russian sports website about things, uh, other than hockey. The Russian goaltender talked about his favorite cities in North America, real estate, and of course his favorable view of Josef Stalin. Here is a choice snippet of the piece.
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.
Well, okay then.