Photo credit:LES BAZSO
‘He’s ready’: Former Canuck Arturs Irbe speaks glowingly about Arturs Silovs
8 months ago
Arturs Irbe is a man of many words.
On Wednesday, the NHL alumnus and goaltending coach for Latvia at the 2023 IIHF World Championship joined Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal of Donnie and Dhali — The Team to talk about the memorable tournament for Latvia.
“What can I say? In some way it’s the reincarnation of the Miracle on Ice. I dont’ think anybody really believed that it was possible for our team except for ourselves,” said Irbe. “We had a group of guys who first believed in themselves and then truly started to believe in each other and started to do their job to their best ability. We were not the stronger team or he more skilled team than some of those opponents, but we had the better team in those particular games. It all started from the backend with Arturs Silovs.”
Irbe spoke more about Canucks goaltending prospect Arturs Silovs, who stole the show for Latvia and managed to pick up Most Valuable Player honours for the entire tournament.
“From my perspective, we had three good goalies,” added Irbe. “We wanted to spread the workload and gave the [first] start to our goaltender Punnenovs who plays in the Swiss League. It didn’t go as well as we wanted and knowing we had on the bench at the time — having Arturs, we did not hesitate in the first game against Canada [to put Silovs in net]. The tremendous change that took place when he stepped in with his poise and confidence, it just gave us all — players and coaching staff alike — the total confidence that he can stop every single shot… And it carried on all the way through to the final whistle which was the winning OT goal against the U.S.”
Irbe said Silovs’ drive and competitiveness to stop every shot he faces is a “gift” and that something Irbe said he couldn’t help but feel when he was on the ice with him. Irbe also said with a tremendous amount of confidence that he thinks Silovs’ future in the NHL is bright.
“Is he an NHL goalie? Yes he is. When? Well, like it was in Carolina for me and in Vancouver, it’s just a matter of time when the team feels it’s time. He’s ready. When he gets his chance he will feel it just like he did in those five games he played for the team.”
Arturs Irbe spent just one season in Vancouver, and it was perhaps the most dysfunctional season in Canucks history. With Mike Keenan at the helm, the Canucks used five goalies, one of which was Irbe. Irbe played in 62 games with the Carolina Hurricanes the following season, recording a tremendous .923 save percentage. Irbe spent the next five seasons with Carolina before heading back to Europe for the final years of his career following the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
Watch the full interview below!
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