KHL goaltender Georgi Gelashvili hasn’t come anywhere close to making his way over to the NHL. The 32-year-old has spent the entirety of his career playing in Russia and Kazakhstan, and he’s far removed from his best years as a netminder.
But even if Gelashvili, who’s currently playing for Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk, was one of the best netminders in the KHL, he might not be fit for the NHL game. Not because his talent level wouldn’t be there, but because Gelashvili seems to be easily flustered by traffic in front of his net. Take Monday’s game against Traktor Chelyabinsk for example.
With 40 seconds left in the second period, Traktor’s Maxim Yakutsenya took a swipe at a puck that was fired on goal. Yakutsenya didn’t get any of the deflection, but his attempt infuriated Gelashvili, who got to his feet and started firing lefts and rights at Yakutsenya:
It’s hard to say what exactly about the routine play set Gelashvili off, but he obviously wasn’t fond of the scoring attempt. His wild haymakers earned him a 25-minute match penalty and Gelashvili won’t be available next time Yugra hits the ice — the KHL has suspended him one game, and he’s not eligible to return to the lineup until Feb. 5.
Having Gelashvili booted from the game didn’t help Traktor much Monday, however, as Yugra went on to a 3-2 victory.
This season has been Gelashvili’s first as a starting netminder in four seasons. After two incredibly successful years with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, including winning the league’s top goaltender award in 2008-09, Gelashvili went to Metallurg Magnitogorsk and his game slipped to the point he played just four KHL games in 2014-15. This season, he has a 2.76 goals-against average and .913 save percentage in 35 games.