After the re-acquisition of goaltender Vitek Vanecek during the offseason, the Washington Capitals look to head into the 2021-22 regular season with both Vanecek and fellow young netminder and former first-round pick Ilya Samsonov in net. During the Capitals’ 3-1 preseason loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on October 2, Samsonov suffered a lower-body injury.
Despite suffering the injury during the game, Samsonov played the full contest, and did not see ice time until Wednesday’s practice with the team. However it is unclear exactly when Samsonov will be ready for game action.
“We’ll see, you know because we’ll [go] day-by-day”, said Samsonov when asked whether he will be good to go for full action during a meeting with the media earlier today, “I feel good right now, I was skating today. I feel normal, nothing pain. I feel good we’ll work to 100 percent for tomorrow”.
Despite becoming injured during the second period of play, it is unclear what caused the injury.
“No I feel pain a little bit”, said Samsonov on whether a specific play triggered the ailment. And while ice time was not in the cards, the 24-year old netminder spent time in the gym continuing to maintain strength. “Then I get some work in the gym, a couple days was really hard, I don’t like it, I like more playing hockey”, he said with a chuckle.
The injury notwithstanding, Samsonov stopped 28 of 31 shots faced, which equated to a .903 Save Percentage. The Capitals will look for both Samsonov and Vanecek to build upon their 2020-21 season, with Samsonov in particular expected to grow his game.
“Close, pretty close”, the young goalie observed when asked to evaluate the strength of his and the team’s performance in the 3-1 loss, “But I’m understand where I need do better. We have time before the season, we have a really important game with the Rangers, everybody knows this. And we keep it forward and we need to up it a little before the season…we’re a very strong team”, finishing his comments with confidence in the team to be in a good position to start the season.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) October 6, 2021
By Michael Fleetwood