Yesterday, yours truly had the opportunity to talk with Semyon Varlamov of the Washington Capitals after practice before their home opener. While having brief encounters with various Russian NHL’ers in the past this was the first one-on-one i’ve gotten to do with an actual player. Despite speaking fluent Russian my entire life there were moments I stumbled through only to be assured by Varly that I was doing fine and not to worry. There is video of the interview but seeing how it’s in Russian I’m not sure if I will upload it. Here is the interview below, enjoy.
How is your injury feeling after today’s practice?
It feels good, I feel better with every practice, barring anything unforeseen I should be back next week.
Do you ever worry that while you are recovering from injury that your replacement (in this case Michal Neuvirth) will play well enough to remain the starting goalie?
Not really, there is no guarentee for the starting role one has to earn it, it’s not my decision to make all I can do is play my best.
Has the NHL’s new equipment changes effected your pads at all?
Not really, I havent felt a difference in my pads since the rules were changed.
How do you feel about the NHL’s attempt at trying to make the goalie’s smaller in order to generate more scoring?
I am pretty indifferent, my job is stop the puck and protect the net if there are changes it’s not a big deal to me.
How is your English coming along?
Every year it gets better and better.
Do you miss Russia at all?
I get to spend each summer’s back home with my friends which is nice but of course I miss Russia.
Do you know exactly when you will return to action?
I haven’t been told anything by Boudreau, it all depends on how I feel, once my conditioning is up to par then I should see some playing time.
Do you have any player in the league that you get an extra kick out of doing well against?
Not really, to play at the NHL level is exciting enough. Any team in the league is hard to play against, each team has a star or a super-star so I try not to get caught up in whose on the ice.
Does having Ovechkin and Semin on the team make it easier for you to adapt and adjust here in the states?
Yes, it great that the team has Russian guys that I can spend time with, joke and talk with. It’s “cool” (he actually said this in English opposed to the Russian equivalent)
Did you see how Sergei Bobrovsky played in his NHL debut?
Yes, I watched it was great to see him play here and do so well. He can clearly play at this level.
If you follow this link, there are pictures from the practice and interview.
Here is the video