The early part of any NHL season can be chaotic. The Capitals started the season with a difficult schedule and have two new defensemen playing full time (Jonas Siegenthaler and Tyler Lewington). The team is still finding itself. So reaching strong conclusions about individual players — especially goaltenders, who are prone to more volatility than skaters — so soon in the season is generally unwise.
But Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden was asked to do so on Monday night. The press asked Reirden if rookie goalie Ilya Samsonov has earned playing time over 30-year-old veteran Braden Holtby. It’s a storyline that’s impossible to ignore right now.