On Saturday afternoon, Washington Capitals head coach Todd Reirden spoke to the media on a Zoom call following practice on the eleventh day of training camp. He discussed the absence of goaltender Ilya Samsonov and the ongoing discussions regarding who will backup Braden Holtby.
Earlier today, the Capitals announced that Samsonov sustained an injury prior to training camp and will not travel with the team to Toronto on Sunday. The 23-year old will stay local to continue undergoing treatment. The Capitals expect Samsonov to be ready for the 2020-21 season, which is reportedly set to begin on December 1.
“It is disappointing for the player…it is disappointing for us,” Reirden said about the situation. He noted Samsonov had some “good strides” this past season and had a “big impact” and to be without him will be “certainly disappointing”. Although Reirden cannot comment on the severity of the injury, he did confirm that is not related to the Coronavirus.
“It’s going to be very unpredictable…something brand new, something we’ve never done,” Reirden said in response to the new “living arrangements and hockey“. He feels confident in the team, especially since most players have playoffs experience, and reiterates how leadership through “adversity and some ups and downs” will prepare the Capitals “for whatever comes our way”.
Reirden said he was “certainly real confident” about his statement that Holtby will be the starting goalie when play resumes. He explained that it was still a discussion between Holtby and Samsonov and not because of the injury. Reirden said he and the Capitals staff will continue to discuss and evaluate whether Pheonix Copley or Vitek Vanecek will back up Holtby in Toronto.
Holtby is expected to play two of the three periods of the Capitals’ exhibition game against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, July 29 (4 PM on NBCSN nationally and NBC Sports Washington locally). Whether Copley or Vanecek will play that third period is still undecided.
Furthermore, Reirden mentioned the team would have brought all four goaltenders if Samsonov was not injured. “That’s a position where you got to protect yourself in that situation and unfortunately we have a player that is injured.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) July 25, 2020
By Della Young