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Author: Pavel Krasnov (Gazeta.Ru Newspaper)
Translated By: Sergei Schweitzer
Date: 12/25/2006
Semen Varlamov: A second place would be a good result.

2007 U20 World Junior Championships

Semen Varlamov accepting the MVP Award at the U18 Four Nations Tournament in Mytische Russia (Photo Source - Lokomotiv 2 Official Website/Yana Romanova)
Semen Varlamov: " A second place would be a good result."

In a conversation with the Gazeta.Ru correspondent, the Russian junior team goaltender Semen Varlamov said that he doesn’t understand how information about steroids could have surfaced and admitted that a second place would be a good result for the team at the World Junior Championships in Sweden.

How would you summarize the team’s training camp? Did you manage to gel with your partners and get a feel for each other?
S. Varlamov
: Training camp began on December 10th. I think that two weeks is enough time for a team gel and get ready for a tournament. I think our team is fairly unified now. We all have a goal and are trying to achieve it.

Does it sadden you that you will have to spend the New Year away from home?
S. Varlamov
: Not at all. I’m glad to have made the team and will celebrate the New Year in Sweden rather than sitting behind the table at home with parents.

Did you expect to make the team?
S. Varlamov
: I’m always confident in my abilities and always wait to be called up to play for the national team. I always try to show my best side and play up the best of my abilities. I was sure that I would play at the World Championships.

Was the situation regarding the information about doping frustrating for you?
S. Varlamov:
No. I don’t understand how this could have happened and that our guys from Yaroslavl could have been involved in this situation. Our team has a wonderful doctor who has been with the team for 25 years and I don’t believe that he could have made such a mistake and give the guys a banned substance. I think this is just a mistake.

Are you worried that the players will be officially checked for steroids in Sweden and they will be left off the team?
S. Varlamov:
I don’t think so. Team management wouldn’t take a risk like that. If somebody had steroids, they wouldn’t have made the team that will be going to Sweden.

The national team has such a balanced roster for the first time. In years past, there were Ovechkin and Malkin but now, the coaches insist that the main thing is the team and not the stars. Do you see an advantage in this?
S. Varlamov:
We really do have a balanced team and don’t have the players of Ovechkin’s or Malkin’s level who could change the result of the game on their own by battling through the defense and scoring a goal. I think because of team play and tactics, our chances to perform well at this tournament are just as high though.

Were the exhibition games of any benefit for the team?
S. Varlamov:
Definitely. We now have more or less established lines, the coaches have made up their minds about the rosters and know who is capable of what. This is why it is very good that we played the exhibition games against the teams from the Superleague.

What are your thoughts about the Czech team which is your first opponent?
S. Varlamov:
Czech Republic is a solid team. They have a very good goalie who plays in Canada. Judging by last year’s youth championship, they have a lot of good ’88 born players as well as the guys born in ’87 who are playing in junior leagues in Canada. The Czechs’ main strengths are excellent offense and goaltending.

Do you think it’s realistic for the team to finish first in the group?
S. Varlamov:
Of course. Considering we have neither the Americans nor the Canadians in our group, we absolutely must finish first in the group and go to the semi-finals automatically.

What would be a good result for your team?
S. Varlamov:
The best result would be gold, but a good one would be silver.

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