Ilya Samsonov was penciled in as the starter by head coach Peter Laviolette against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. The matinee game was scheduled to be Samsonov’s ninth straight start.
But it was an adventure getting Samsonov to that point.
According to The Washington Post’s Samantha Pell, Samsonov led the Capitals out onto the ice — a role given to the starting netminder — and then left warmups after taking a couple of shots. That left only Pheonix Copley as the only goaltender out on the ice for warmups.
Pell wrote on Twitter that it “sounds like an injury situation at the moment.” Vitek Vanecek was not available to start or back up as he remains on injured reserve.
That left Capitals Twitter confused. Was Samsonov injured? Did the Capitals trade him? Did Sammy have an equipment issue? Who would be the emergency netminder? Brett Leonhardt?
Twenty-seven minutes later, after being announced to the crowd as the Capitals’ starter, Samsonov ambled out onto the ice and took his position in net. The opening draw occurred at 12:38 PM.
Less than a minute later, Samsonov gave up a goal to Claude Giroux on the Flyers’ first shot. It took 11 seconds for the Flyers to dent the twine and take the lead.
The Captain catches the Caps early.
— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) February 26, 2022
This is not the first time Samsonov has had an adventure before a scheduled start. Ahead of a November 4, 2021 game against the Florida Panthers, Samsonov pulled himself from the game and went down to the dressing room. Vitek Vanecek started and then was replaced by Samsonov minutes later.
Afterward, an exasperated Laviolette would not say why Samsonov left the ice, making many believe it was for a bathroom break.
“We’re probably better off saying he had an issue,” Laviolette said.
Update: During the third period of the Capitals-Flyers telecast, Joe Beninati said that Samsonov left warmups due to an injury. He was hit by a puck and missed the last eight or nine minutes of warmups before returning for the start of the game.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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