To take shots from Alex Ovechkin in practice must be a dream come true for Ilya Samsonov, the Washington Capitals backup goalie who, like Ovi, hails from Russia. But on Tuesday, it almost turned into a nightmare for the 22-year-old netminder.
Hours before the Caps' matchup with the L.A. Kings in D.C., the team's routine morning skate nearly took a dark turn when Ovechkin came down the right wing and ripped one of his famous wrist shots on net. Unfortunately for Samsonov, the puck came directly at his head, knocking his helmet off and shaking him up. Kendall Griggs, a photographer on hand, happened to capture video, and it's downright terrifying:
Goodness gracious. To knock off a goaltender's facemask, there had to be some serious zip on that shot. Scary stuff. Samsonov headed straight to the locker room to be evaluated by team doctors, and the team immediately recalled its AHL goalie Vitek Vanecek for precautionary reasons. Sounds like he's OK, though:
Great news for Samsonov, who is enjoying quite the rookie year. In 20 starts he's 16-3-1 with a 2.21 goals against average, which ranks him third in the NHL. Ovi might want to stay away from his head and neck area going forward.