New York Islanders goaltender Semyon Varlamov didn’t even get a chance to face a shot from the New York Rangers on Saturday night.
The Islanders’ netminder was forced to miss the game after getting injured during warmups of their 5-0 loss to the Rangers. Varlamov was stung by a shot to the throat during warmups, a video on the Islanders MSG+ broadcast showed.
The Russian laid on the ice momentarily before leaving with a trainer. There was no update on Varlamov, according to Islanders head coach Barry Trotz.
— Isles on MSG+ (@IslesMSGN) January 16, 2021
Cory Schneider, who just recently signed a deal with the Islanders, backed up Sorokin on Saturday.
What transpired after that was a rocky NHL debut for rookie goalie Ilya Sorokin, who surrendered five goals on 32 shots, and an ugly outing by the Islanders. One that left the Islanders bench boss with a bad taste in his mouth.
“We hung him out to dry, I didn’t think we played that well,” Trotz said. “We put him in a tough circumstance. We did it to ourselves injuring Varly in the warmup. To me, it’s almost unacceptable. That’s like running your quarterback over in warmup. Players have to recognize that your goaltender is almost your most important player on your team and you have to get him warmed up. Guys were not thinking.
“It wasn’t fair to Ilya. It wasn’t fair to Varly.”
It was a shot from Cal Clutterbuck during the warmup that sent Varlamov to the dressing room. Varlamov was scheduled to make his second consecutive start after shutting out the Rangers in the season opener on Thursday.
It was unclear when Sorokin would have made his NHL debut, but Trotz and the coaching staff appeared to feel Varlamov was the right move for the first two games. The Islanders coach indicated on Friday that he had made his goalie decision for Saturday night, but did not tell reporters who it would be.
After the incident in warmups, things continued to snowball in the eyes of Trotz.
“The first four goals are all stuff that we did,” Trotz said. “Turnovers, bad plays and poor execution. We were junk today.”
There was plenty of disappointment to go around for Sorokin following the loss on Saturday. Islanders captain Anders Lee said that they had all wished Sorokin luck when they went back onto the ice.
“We set out to play a much better game in front of him than we did, so we failed him in that regard,” Lee said.
Lee wasn’t the only one who felt that they had let Sorokin down. Ryan Pulock, who briefly left Saturday’s loss with an injury, was disappointed by the effort the Islanders gave their young netminder.
Pulock said that despite the goaltending change, nothing changed in his game.
“We’re trying every night to battle hard and win those puck battles,” Pulock said. “Give our goalie a chance at each save and we failed at that.”