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Author: Mikhail Zislis (Sport-Express Newspaper)
Translated By: Sergei Schweitzer
Date: 12/26/2006
Semen Varlamov: I know that Bykov is watching me.

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: " I know that Bykov is watching me" .

This will be the 2nd World Junior Championships in your career. How are you feeling?
S. Varlamov
: A year ago I was going to the championships with a dream to play at least one game as I was a clear backup, but now there is a lot more responsibility on my shoulders. There is still some time before the game against the Czechs and I’m nervous already.

Russia’s men’s team’s coaching staff representative Sergei Nemchinov will be in Sweden.
S. Varlamov
: I understand what you are hinting at. I remember Viacheslav Bykov’s words that I will be followed closely which gives me extra motivation. A good tournament for me in Sweden would give me a chance to play at the finishing stage of the Eurotour.

Does the fact that this junior team doesn’t have stars like Malkin mean that you will be held responsible for everything?
S. Varlamov
: You can’t talk like that, but I understand how much will depend on my game. At the same time, I’m ready for this test and I’m sure the rest of the guys will help me. We will have to play differently from last year. By the way, we worked a lot on our counter attacking game during training camp.

Who do you think will be team Russia’s main competitors?
S. Varlamov
: I think the Americans will have the best team. Their youth teams from two different age groups have won the Youth World Championships and I had a chance to play against them. Team USA really impressed back then and I doubt they will be any worse now.

What can you say about the other teams in your group?
S. Varlamov
: The games against Czech Republic and Finland won’t be easy, but our chances against them aren’t bad and we can and have to beat them. I know there will be many good goalkeepers at this tournament and it will be a matter of principle for me to prove that I’m better than them. The Czech team for example, has a good goalie who pays in one of the Quebec junior leagues. The goalies get a lot of experience there as they play 50-60 games a season and face a lot of shots.

Did you want to go to Canada yourself?
S. Varlamov
: Playing in a junior league would help me progress, but I have an active contract with Lokomotiv and besides, the Superleague level is significantly higher.

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