Hockey player Ivan Fedotov took to the ice for the first time as part of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Hockey player Ivan Fedotov took to the ice for the first time as part of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov, whose contract with CSKA caused one of the biggest hockey scandals of last year, made his debut in the NHL a few days after the Moscow club finally released him to the NHL. Fedotov came on as a substitute in the second period of his new team's Philadelphia Flyers match against the New York Islanders and played quite well. True, the Philadelphians, desperately fighting for a ticket to the play-offs, still lost - 3:4.

Ivan Fedotov became the 12th Russian goalkeeper to play in the regular championship of the National Hockey League (NHL) this season. But, presumably, few of his compatriots received such attention as he received in the match with the New York Islanders.

Fedotov appeared on the court at the start of the second period. He replaced Samuel Ersson, who had conceded two goals after only six shots in the previous twenty minutes. TV cameras kept him in their sights for several minutes, and the match commentators, of course, resembled the biography of a hockey player. Well, yes, this is the same guy who caused a scandal last year, because of which the NHL quarreled with Russia. He signed a contract with Philadelphia back in 2022, after a season in which he won silver at the Beijing Olympics with his team, and the Gagarin Cup with the CSKA club, but in the summer, instead of flying to America, he went to serve in the navy. And when he served, in 2023, he again found himself in the Moscow team, although the Philadelphians were waiting for him.

Even the intervention of the International Hockey Federation (IIHF), which imposed a four-year disqualification on Fedotov and a transfer ban on the club, did not help. All the same, the KHL allowed him to participate in its championship.

CSKA spent it unsuccessfully, was eliminated in the first round of the playoffs, and last week announced the termination of the contract with Ivan Fedotov, who, as it turned out, was still of interest to Philadelphia. However, it is clear why she was interested in him. The goaltending line was already a problem for the club, and in January the problems were added, as the main goalkeeper Carter Hart disappeared from the application - along with several other NHL players, the person involved in a high-profile story of sexual abuse dating back to 2018. Swede Samuel Ersson, who is not very stable, became number one. In general, no one doubted that Philadelphia would definitely try Fedotov. Another thing is that I tried it very quickly and, by the way, it’s unlikely that I was disappointed.

Ivan Fedotov worked his segment quite confidently. He stopped 19 of 21 shots, and one of the highlights of the match was an episode in which the Islanders' best forward, Matt Barzel, went one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Barzel made a seemingly excellent shot into the top nine, but the puck hit Fedotov's raised trap just in time and where it needed to be.

Philadelphia, having equalized the score at the end of regulation time, after replacing the goalkeeper with a sixth field player, still lost in overtime after a hit by Brock Nelson, but took the point. And for her now, at the finish line of the regular season, such a loss is worth its weight in gold. The Philadelphians are fighting fiercely for a spot in the cup stage. After the match against the Islanders, they were formally in the playoff zone, but the team's position was precarious. Philadelphia was in third place in the Metropolitan Division, just a point ahead of the Washington Capitals, who also had three games in hand.

Alexey Dospehov

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