Photo credit: Chris Gordon
In his two seasons as goaltender coach with the Washington Capitals, Arturs Irbe was more than successful. The 44-year-old mentored the organization’s trio of young goalies last season — Michal Neuvirth, Semyon Varlamov, and Braden Holtby — and under his watch the Capitals became the first team in league history with three goaltenders 22 or younger to have 10 or more wins in a season. His pupils were also recognized a number of times for stellar play by National Hockey League last year. Neuvirth was named NHL Rookie of the Month for October, Varlamov was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for the week ending January 3, 2011, and Holtby — a virtual wildcard heading into last season — was named the NHL’s First Star of the Week for the week ending March 13, 2011.
Holtby, who may have evolved the most of the three during Irbe’s time in the organization, performed phenomenally as an injury replacement last year, going 10-2-2 with a .934 save percentage and a 1.79 goals against average.
So when word came out in early June that Archie was leaving the organization, many wondered why. Family and personal reasons were cited by the Capitals, which Olaf Kolzig backed up in an interview with Elliot in the Morning.
Today, Irbe gave his side of his story in a video interview with Kristaps Drikis of the Latvian Web site Sportacentrs.com. Thanks to a Russian translation by Sports.ru, RMNB’s Fedor Fedin offers it to you in English.