ILYA BRYZGALOV stopped 30 shots while tending goal through 60 sweaty minutes last night against the Chicago Blackhawks.

And then said he was too ill to speak to the media after the game, in which he blew a two-goal lead in a span of 25 seconds in the third period.

So, either Bryzgalov caught a cold from sitting on the 36-degree bench during Monday's Winter Classic, or the Flyers' brass told him to put a sock in his "hu-man-gous" mouth after defying coach Peter Laviolette last Sunday by purposely revealing Sergei Bobrovsky as the big-event starter.

After last night's game, a team spokesman originally said Bryzgalov was not available because he was receiving postgame treatment in a hot tub. Usually, someone with flulike symptoms would want to steer clear of anything warm.

The Flyers spokesman said he was instructed by general manager Paul Holmgren to "not make him speak" since he was sick.

When asked, Holmgren reiterated that Bryzgalov was ill and that they wanted him to leave the facility as quickly as possible to avoid contaminating the rest of the team.

Last night was Bryzgalov's first game action since Dec. 27 in Tampa Bay.

This would not be the first time this season the Flyers have tried to limit Bryzgalov's interaction with the media, as Laviolette and Holmgren said on Oct. 28 that their $51 million goaltender would only speak after games. The Professional Hockey Writers Association threatened a grievance and the Flyers quickly withdrew their policy.

- Frank Seravalli