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Author: Dmitry Chesnokov (Soviet Sport)
Translated By: Eugene Belashchenko
Date: 07/13/2007
Semen Varlamov (Washington Capitals): I will spend another year in Yaroslavl

Semen Varlamov accepting the MVP Award at the U18 Four Nations Tournament in Mytische Russia (Photo Source - Lokomotiv 2 Official Website/Yana Romanova)
Yesterday 19 year old Semen Varlamov (Washington Capitals) signed a three year contract with Washington, as part of which he will be earning 765k per year. Varlamov will spend the next season with Lokomotiv, and then plans to leave for the NHL. Soviet Sport correspondent met with the goalie in the American capital.

During Washington’s training camp, the stands are filled to the limits. And this is in June when the temperatures are above 100 degrees! But the fans are even interested in the rookie training camp. Semen Varlamov (Washington Capitals) already practiced and is standing next to the boards. He probably was a bit surprised when he heard Russian. After introductions, I led Varlamov to the side, and then a line formed behind me made up of journalists who were asking me to translate to them what he was saying in Russian.

Well, I already had a chance to play – smiles Varlamov – allowed to soft goals though…I arrived yesterday afternoon and today I’m already practicing. The entire day is filled up. I had time to grab some lunch at the arena. What are my plans? After the practice, if Dovgan has any strength left, we will got to a restaurant and order up a nice steak.

It should be clarified that defenseman Viktor Dovgan previously played for CSKA and CSK VVS, but spent the most recent season with Washington’s farm club. This year he was invited to join the NHL team’s training camp. More and more Russians are in the ranks of the nation’s capital – Ovechkin, Semin, Viktor Kozlov (New Jersey Devils)

How are the Capitals?
S. Varlamov: I like the practices – they are very dynamic. There is a lot of unusual things. I don’t know English at all, so it is difficult to interact with the guys. I sit in the locker-room and stay quiet. I only talk to Dovgan (laughing). He helps me a lot. Last year an American coach Paul Gardner joined us in Yaroslavl, so I am a bit familiar with the NHL style practices. The most important difference is that they are only about an hour long but are very intensive. Many shots, everyone is running, tries very hard.

Did you sign an agreement with Washington?
S. Varlamov: Yes it is true.

But you still have three years left on your contract with Lokomotiv.
S. Varlamov: That is true too. I will play one more season in Yaroslavl. That is part of my agreement with Washington. Then we will see.

Will you be allowed to leave Lokomotiv?
S. Varlamov: My agreement with that team does allow that after next season I would have the option to leave for the NHL, if I want to. To begin with I need to have a good season with Lokomotiv though. But I am already very happy to sign my first NHL contract. I have been working towards this goal for so long. Now I need to prove myself in America.

You probably heard regarding the court case of Eremeev and Mezin (goalies who sued the Russian Hockey Federation to fight the restrictions put in place against foreign goaltender in the Super League, especially ones with Russian citizenship, even if they represented another national team – RP]. What do you think about the problems faced by foreign goalies? The changes in the rules are being put in place to clear the road for young goalies, like you, so that you would stay in Russia.
S. Varlamov:I believe that we at home have very good goalies. If you work hard, no one needs to clear the path for you. You will make it on your own. Yes, a number of foreign goalies from Canada and US could be limited, but not those from Belarus, Ukranians or Kazakhs. I mean they are practically Russian – they are our guys!

How were your travels to the training camp funded?
S. Varlamov: The story is interesting. I had in my hands electronic plane tickets paid by Washington. But I didn’t have a visa! So, I had to get it in the morning and leave an hour later. So, it was not realistic to make it to the airport across Moscow in the classic rush hour traffic. So, I had to buy a separate ticket on my own. My agent helped me. I do think the club will compensate me for the expenditure. (shyly smiling)

Further Semen was being “interrogated” by American correspondents:

Have you been to Hershey” That’s where Washington’s farm club plays.
S. Varlamov: No. But I heard that is where chocolate is made. When you enter the city you smell it everywhere. That’s what my agent told me.

Did you ever have a goaltender hero you looked up to?
S. Varlamov: Yes, Patrick Roy. I like his style of play. Right now, technically I like Mikka Kirpussoff

What are your strengths and where do you believe you need to improve in order to make it in the NHL?
S. Varlamov: I believe my strengths are my speed, skating and physical preparedness. But I need to work a lot. In the NHL there are many shots and opponent forwards play very well in front of the net, screening the goalie. So, I need to further improve my positional game.
- Dmitry Chesnokov (Soviet Sport)

Related Player Profiles: . V.Dovgan V.Kozlov S.Varlamov
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