Back in the U.S., Back in the U.S. Back in the U.S. of A.
There were varying degrees of worry surrounding New York Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin spending the off-season in Russia, where he was training this summer with other NHL players.
But on Wednesday night came reports that he was back on US soil and on Long Island ahead of training camp scheduled for next month.
NY Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin is back on US soil
Concerns around the availability of Sorokin and other Russian players started in June when Stefan Rosner of NYI Hockey Now detailed that Russian players could face issues returning to North America due to military requirements for Russian-born men ages 18-27. Flyers prospect Ivan Fedotov was detained and accused of evading military service. Sorokin, who turned 27 on August 4th, had played six seasons with CSKA Moscow, which is part of the Russian Defense Ministry.
“The Army owns the rights to many young players who are now playing abroad," a source told independent Russian newspaper The Insider in June. "If they don’t officially resolve the issue with the military enlistment office, then such players as Egor Afanasyev, Artem Grushnikov, Ilya Sorokin, Denis Guryanov, and Dmitry Samorukov could face the same problems that Ivan Fedotov did."
Last night, the wife of Alexander Romanov posted an Instagram story showing that she, "Soroka," and the newly acquired Islanders defenseman were out experiencing the great American past time of bowling. A look at the scoresheet and the trio was still aiming for their first strike or spare in the 8th frame. We may never know who won. Psst....you're never too old to ask for the bumpers.
Entering his third season with the Islanders, Sorokin is among the Vezina Trophy favorites for 2022-23 after finishing sixth in voting last year when he finished 26-18-8 with a .925 SV% and 2.40 GAA.
Sorokin started the first nine games and asserted himself as the team's top netminder a year earlier than expected after Semyon Varlamov missed training camp and the beginning of the season due to injury. Despite trade rumors at the March deadline and during this off-season, the Russian goalie tandem is expected to remain intact and be among the best in the NHL this season.