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From Words to Actions: The Best of Ilya Sorokin So Far

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New York Islanders, Ilya Sorokin
New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin as he makes a strong save on New York Rangers forward Kaapo Kakko (Photo courtesy of New York Islanders Twitter)

New York Islanders netminder Ilya Sorokin has taken tremendous strides on and off the ice since joining New York back in the 2020 playoff bubble up in Canada.

The biggest standout has been how quickly Ilya Sorokin has learned the English language.

The 27-year-old Russian netminder came over, speaking very little English, and he would need help understanding every question asked. More often than not, he would apologize for not understanding and then try his luck with the next question. , couldn’t answer the questions, and then moved on to another.

Learning a new language is rather difficult, but when it’s a brand new alphabet as well…I can’t imagine.

Over the two-plus years he has been on Long Island and in the United States, it’s fantastic to see how far he has come.

Despite learning the language, some of his answers have provided great content and his saves.

So here are the best words and actions from Ilya Sorokin in 2022-23.

This is a running story as it will be updated whenever Ilya Sorokin says something, does something that you have to read or see. 

Ilya Sorokin entered the summer after making 52 starts, 30 more than his rookie season. He recorded a .925 SV% with a 2.71 GAA, an impressive stat line given how much the defense struggled in front of him.

At the start of training camp, I asked Ilya Sorokin what he worked on this past summer.

His answer to me: “Stop puck.”

That was all he provided; that answer took the internet by storm.

I mean, it’s a perfect answer. That’s his job, and if that’s what he worked on, that’s a good sign, right?

So far in 2022-23, Sorokin has stopped the puck more often than not. He’s faced 251 shots, stopping 235 for a .936 SV% and a 2.03 GAA. Out of 32 goalies to play 300-plus minutes, Sorokin ranks third in SV%, third in GAA, third with a 7.93 GSAA, and fifth with a .888 HDSV% per Natural Stat Trick.

The Islanders are currently riding a five-game winning streak, and Sorokin has played an integral part. On his personal three-game winning streak, he owns a 1.25 GAA, a .962 SV%, a 7.43 GSAA, and a .946 HDSV% over that span.

He has one shutout on the season, which game against the rival New York Rangers back on Oct. 26, a 3-0 win.

He stopped 41 of 41 shots that came his way, including this tremendous save late in the first period.

After the game, Sorokin spoke to the media and was asked about beating the New York Islanders biggest rival. And you know the phrase, “It doesn’t matter if you win or lose. All that matters is you have fun”?

Yeah, well, wins feel much better. Don’t take my word for it. Take Sorokin’s.

 

While the game was out of reach for the Hurricanes late in the third period, Sorokin made a mesmerizing glove stop:

Sorokin’s latest game, against the Chicago Blackhawks, saw him stop 21 of 22, including four of five when the Islanders were shorthanded. He gave us another strong quote as he thanked his teammates for blocking shots, as he always does.

“It’s good. It’s really good for goalie when whole team help you and can stop the puck [with] body.”

In the first period against the St. Louis Blues, a game in which he stopped 32 of 34, he made an unreal save on Jake Neighbours towards the back post.

“It’s so quick. I think it’s instinct,” Sorokin said. “So I know that there was player [to the] side, so I play non-aggressive.”

After the game, I asked Sorokin what it meant to push the winning streak to five games.

“I don’t think about last game. I don’t think about future game. I think just today game.”

During the game, Sorokin had to deal with St. Louis Blues netminder Jordan Binnington and his antics.

“Oh yeah, it’s funny. I was relaxed,” Ilya Sorokin told NYI Hockey Now following the game.

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