Ilya Samsonov missed a seventh straight practice on Monday. The team’s talented backup goaltender has not taken the ice since Phase 3 Training Camp began Monday, July 13.
He’s the only player on the team’s 34-man roster who has been absent for every practice.
Capitals D Alexander Alexeyev will practice today for the first time in training camp but won't take part in the scrimmage.
Ilya Samsonov remains out. He has yet to practice during camp.
— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) July 20, 2020
Samsonov initially flew to DC from Russia on July 2. Beyond starring in a cuddly Instagram photo and a TikTok with the team’s Russians, Samsonov has not been seen beyond promoting a car deal on Instagram July 13.
His absence is a mystery. NHL teams are not releasing the medical information on why players are on or off the ice due to an agreement the league made with the NHLPA for the 2020 playoffs. The NHL announces positive COVID-19 tests every Monday in a batch-style release. Two NHL players tested positive for coronavirus since the start of Phase 3.
The setback could have implications for Samsonov heading into the 24-team playoff if he’s able to join the team. In June, Capitals head coach Todd Reirden named Braden Holtby the starter but left open the possibility of Samsonov possibly getting action during round-robin play. The Russian rookie went 16-6-2 during the regular season with a 2.55 goals against average and a 91.3 save percentage.
“Going into it, it’s Braden Holtby’s job to lose and I feel confident in him,’ Reirden said according to NBC Sports Washington. “I felt confident with where things were going right before the pause in terms of how his game was coming around and I think he’ll get the first crack at it.”
Reirden added, “It’s something that we’re gonna want to get both Braden and Ilya the proper starts and the proper reps. For that matter, we also need to make sure that if we are choosing to have our four goalies here with Copley and Vanecek, that they’re prepared too. So it all goes into our process. You don’t know how deep you’re gonna need your roster to be. But the way I see it, you’re gonna need a lot of players and it’s important that all of our players are ready and when they get that opportunity they’re able to take advantage of it.”
While Sammy sat, Capitals defenseman Alex Alexeyev made his first appearance at camp on Monday. The Athletic’s Tarik El-Bashir posted video of Alexeyev going up against fellow first-round pick Connor McMichael.
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) July 20, 2020
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