The New York Islanders got the night off to a pretty bad start.
The Islanders are facing off against the New York Rangers on Saturday night and although they were set to have goaltender Semyon Varlamov in net for this contest, their plans were upended before the game even had a chance to get underway. The Islanders were going through what was a routine warm up when Islanders forward Cal Clutterbuck lost control of a shot on goal, sending it up high on Varlamov and catching him somewhere in the neck area.
Although it is hard to tell given the limited replays that we have from the pregame warmup, it does appear that the shot managed to find its way right under Varlamov's protective mask and caught him right in the throat. The veteran netminder immediately collapsed to the ice in pain and would remain there for some time with the trainers even coming out to attend to his injury.
There has been no official update from the Islanders regarding Varlamov but at this time I think it is safe to assume that we will not be seeing him in action tonight. The Islanders did announce that Ilya Sorokin would be getting the start this evening so that would appear to confirm that Varlamov is out for the evening at least.
The start for Ilya Sorokin will no doubt come as a big time silver lining for fans who are excited to see how the Kontinental Hockey League star will perform at the National Hockey League level. Ilya Sorokin has never played in an NHL game but made 40 appearances for CSKA Moscow, one of the KHL's premier teams, in each of the past two seasons recording a 1.16 goals against and a .940 save percentage two seasons ago and a 1.50 goals against and a .935 save percentage in his most recent KHL campaign.
There has, understandably, been a lot of hype surrounding the potential for Sorokin to shine for the Islanders and potentially even stake his claim on the Islanders top goaltending spot. It would seem that thanks to some bad luck from Clutterbuck and Varlamov, and perhaps a little intervention on the part of fate, that fans will get to see what Sorokin has to offer soon rather than later.