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New York Islanders

Islanders Head Coach Roy Says “I’m Not 100% Pleased” With Sorokin



AP Photo/Seth Wenig

EAST MEADOW, NY–The art of playing goalie is nuanced. A person doesn’t truly understand what it takes to stand in front of a 100-mph slapshot until they see one heading straight for them.

In his past life, New York Islanders head coach Patrick Roy faced many of those as a Hall of Fame netminder. Of anyone, he has the credence to judge when a goalie is playing up to par. In his eyes, Islanders starting goalie Ilya Sorokin is not.

“I’m not 100% pleased with [his play],” Roy said Tuesday morning. “It’s obvious, and I’m sure he’s not [pleased with] himself.”

The Islanders are in the midst of a four-game losing streak. In that stretch, Sorokin has started three games, allowing 10 goals on 91 shots against with a 3.33 goals-against average.

Those aren’t terrible numbers, but they’re a far cry from the standard Sorokin set for himself as the runner-up for the Vezina Trophy last year.

Sorokin’s numbers overall have declined this year. His save percentage (.904) has dropped by 24% this year, and his GAA (3.03) has inflated by 0.69 points.

The advanced statistics don’t reflect well on the 28-year-old either.

According to, among the 20 goalies who’ve started at least 40 games this season, Sorokin ranks 16th in goals saved above expected per 60, a stat that measures how good a goalie is at stopping shots compared to the average across the league, at -0.4.

Last season, the Islanders could always fall back on Sorokin, knowing he’d bail them out of tight situations. This year, it just hasn’t been the same.

“We don’t want to rely on goaltending,” Roy said. “Goaltending can be a difference-maker, but it’s up to every one of us to play a certain way and play a good way. The goalies will take care of themselves. We have two very good goaltenders, and I have zero concerns about our goaltending.”

Since Roy took over behind the Islanders’ bench in mid-January, he’s worked to decrease the number of shots the team allows. The Islanders have accomplished that for the most part. But in a strange sense, that, too, can have an adverse effect on a goalie.  Now, Sorokin has more time to focus on his mistakes rather than stopping the next shot.

“When you have less [shots], you have more time to think about ‘Okay, I just let that one in,’ and ‘I know I should have had that one,'” Roy said. “That plays in your mind because it is not as free. It’s an adjustment with less shots. Even the chances, we’re cutting down on chances, so it’s a different game. I guess for him now, every save counts.”

Even more so, every game counts for the Islanders.

With only 15 games remaining on their schedule, the Islanders are a point out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Islanders will host the Carolina Hurricanes tonight at UBS Arena, with Sorokin as the projected starter in goal.