December 16, 2014: Anaheim Ducks Goalie Ilya Bryzgalov (80) [2252] in warm ups before the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at Air Canada  Centre in Toronto, ON (Icon Sportswire via AP Images)

Mailbag: Ilya Bryzgalov

We met up with Bryz at a Mediterranean restaurant (his choice) near where he calls home in New Jersey for a no-nonsense Q&A session.

Mikey Nichols and Eric LeGrand at Mickey's house in Monroe, New Jersey on October 10, 2016.(Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

We All Got Angels, We All Got Demons

The kid who hit me fell on top of me, and we slid toward the boards. It wasn’t in slow motion or anything like that, but I knew it wasn’t going to be good.

gettyimages-474546554

Letter to My Younger Self

That’s it, kid. You are now a goalie. Go put on your pads. A life of pain and misery (and a whole lot of fun) awaits you.

gettyimages-630437552

Get Hot, Stay Hot

“Experts” told everyone that we were a lottery team even before the puck dropped, and said that we might as well not show up. We didn’t care.

gettyimages-96147159

The 10 Best Days in Hockey

For 10 days, a group of teenagers from all across the country get a chance to carry a nation. For 10 days, 35 million people want a Team Canada sweater. For 10 days, you live the dream.

dkx29241-bw-1b

Not Just Every Four Years

Yes, this game is big — but it’s not Canada. That is the unspoken sentiment in the U.S locker room any time we’re not playing our biggest rival.

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 23: Mike Fisher #12 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Dallas Stars during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on November 23, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)

Welcome to Smashville

As a general rule of thumb in hockey, you never want the GM to pop his head into the locker room after practice and ask if he can see you for a second. It’s the moment you always hear about,…

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MARCH 4:  Jed Ortmeyer #41 of the New York Rangers looks on against the New Jersey Devils at the Continental Airlines Arena on March 4, 2006 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Devils won 2-1.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Feeling You’d Die For

The nurses ran their tests, and I was sure that soon they’d be back to tell me that everything was going to be fine. Except I couldn’t stop thinking about the blood. The day before, I had woken up from…

gettyimages-98349616a

Five Goals, Four Kids, One Hell of a Good Time

It has been a hell of a ride. But I’m done. I am officially retired, as of today. I scored five goals. I had four kids. And I had one hell of a good time over the years. By my…

usatsi_9054346

"This Would Never Happen in Sweden"

The guy was my idol growing up, and now, that night, I was going to share the same ice with him.

Wayne Gretzky visits The Players' Tribune and TPT Studio B on Tuesday, October 18, 2016 in New York City, New York. (Photo by Taylor Baucom/The Players' Tribune)

When I Knew

In this installment of When I Knew, Wayne Gretzky remembers the moment when he knew he was more than just another hockey player.

gettyimages-473885376

Life Out Loud: Wayne Gretzky

Andy Warhol. Ping pong. The psychology of "the safehouse." The benefits of a 28-year marriage. The guilt of chasing down your hero. This is not your typical Wayne Gretzky interview.