The last few weeks have not been fun for Capitals goalie Ilya Samsonov. Samsonov tested positive for the coronavirus in January which led to him and three other players being placed on the NHL's COVID-19 protocol-related absence list. For many, this just means being stuck at home and not being able to train on the ice. But while in quarantine, Samsonov dealt with symptoms of the coronavirus which he described on Monday.
"There were a few days that were challenging for me," Samsonov said through an interpreter. "Had trouble breathing for a little bit there, and walking a bit. Couple days where I felt pretty sick, but I’m starting to feel better and I’m at the point now where I feel comfortable.”
Imagine, if you will, being 23 years old, living in a foreign country, being quarantined and stuck at home, contracting a virus that has killed over 2.3 million people worldwide and over 460,000 in the United States alone and having trouble breathing.
Given that, it is not surprising that Samsonov felt the isolation was the hardest part of the ordeal.
“Yeah, it was extremely difficult," Samsonov said. "The first five days went by but after those five days, it was very difficult to just stay home and not see anybody. Obviously, I texted some of the guys and talked with my parents. But that was probably one of the most challenging things, just staying at home and not being able to see anybody.”
Samsonov joined the team for workouts over the weekend for the first time and finally was able to practice Monday as he came off the protocol list. He had remained on the list since Jan. 20.
Download and subscribe to the Capitals Talk podcastNow the task for Samsonov is to get back into game shape. Being in quarantine means he was not able to get on the ice for nearly three weeks.
"Per the protocol we couldn’t really work out, so you had to remain at home," Samsonov said.
Samsonov did not rule himself out for Tuesday's game, but with the 6 p.m. start, the Caps have elected not to have a morning skate. It seems doubtful that he would be able to play after only one practice after nearly three weeks in quarantine. With Thursday and Saturday's games being postponed, Sunday against the Pittsburgh Penguins could be the most realistic opportunity for Samsonov's return.