The biggest mystery of the Capitals’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Panthers on Thursday was Ilya Samsonov’s self-pull out of the game before puck drop, giving Vitek Vanecek his seventh start in 10 games. NBC Sports Washington cameras captured Sammy talking to the Capitals trainer at the bench before going down the tunnel to the locker room.
After the game, Capitals head coach Peter Laviolette was asked about the bizarre incident. Judging by the guffawing from the media and how Laviolette smiled before answering the question, it’s reasonable to surmise that Samsonov needed a potty break.
The comments begin at the 1:20 mark.
“You know, Tarik, we’re probably better off saying he had an issue,” Laviolette said as the media laughed. “He needed a minute. That’s all.”
After 1:45 of game time passed, Samsonov returned to the bench and came back into the game replacing Vanecek. He was later pulled for good in the second period after surrendering three goals on 18 shots.
“That was me, making a call,” Laviolette said of pulling Sammy. “The way the game went, I just thought there were things we could have done better, he could have done better. Definitely, things we could have done better so I made the change in the goaltender.”
If Samsonov indeed miss game time for the bathroom, he would not be the first goaltender to suffer this fate.
In 2007, Roberto Luongo had “a little bit of a bellyache” per Sports Illustrated and opted to go to the bathroom minutes before the start of overtime during a possible elimination game against the Anaheim Ducks.
— Strombone (@strombone1) January 26, 2013
“I was there doing my business and I hear the play starting in the arena,” Luongo said. “So I panicked there. I don’t remember if I wiped. I just put my gear back on, tried to get out there as soon as I could.”
Dany Sabourin replaced Luongo in the net, worrying Canucks fans everywhere. Sabourin, however, came up big and made five saves in overtime before being relieved by Luongo, the original starting goaltender.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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