12/15/2008 Varlamov’s First NHL Post-Game Interview
What did I say back in November, when I introduced my new website? “This site is dedicated to the Russian born players for the Washington Capitals– Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Sergei Fedorov and Victor Kozlov (plus Simeon Varlamov, who will be a Cap before you know it!).” Well that didn’t take long. And here is Varlamov’s first post-game interview as an NHL player, as published in today’s issue of Sport-Express.
12/15/2008 Damir Khairetdinov, from Montreal
Simeon Varlamov: “All the Russian Guys from Washington Supported Me”
The game against Montreal became a benefit performance for Washington’s Russian goalkeeper Simeon Varlamov. The NHL debut of the 20 year old from Samara, who was called up from the farm club, turned out exceedingly well. The ex-goalkeeper for Lokomotiv turned away 32 out of 33 shots, was awarded the first star of the game, and his brilliant performance drew the admiration of a number of journalists. In the visiting team’s locker room, Varlamov looked tired, but happy, and he gave his first post-game interview as an NHL player with pleasure.
– Allow me to congratulate you on such an outstanding debut in the NHL, and here in the home of your childhood idol Patrick Roy!
“Yes, today is the happiest day of my life! Words don’t suffice to tell you what I am feeling right now.”
At this moment, Alexander Ovechkin passes by and interrupts our conversation, saying: “I want to listen to the hero of the game!” This remark draws a sharp protest from the embarrassed goalkeeper. He waits until Alex the Great leaves, and then he continues:
“I am very happy that I was able to have my debut specifically here, in Montreal. Of course I was extremely nervous before the game. I learned just this morning that I would be playing. It was very important for me to pull out a win. When I started playing in the Super League, I won my first game, and this also happened when I played for the Russian National Youth team. And now I have also won my first game in the NHL. The most difficult thing was to keep my emotions in check and not lose my head. I want to thank my family and all those who have worked with me.”
–When you signed your first contract with the NHL, you said that your first dream had come true. Has your second one now come true?
“Yes, and I couldn’t agree more. My first dream for sure was to make it to an NHL team. My second dream came true today. There is a third one, also, but I am keeping that a secret for now. When that comes true, I’ll tell you about it.”
After these words our conversation with Varlamov was interrupted again, this time by the reporters who surrounded us, who found it unbearable to listen to the unintelligible (to them) Russian speech. Having satisfied their curiosity, the hero of the day continued to answer questions from Sport-Express.
–Were you a little shook up by the collision with Alexei Kovalev, right after which you allowed the puck in?
“No, I try not to dwell too much on moments such as that. It is really difficult to knock me off my game by things like that. During a game you have a little bit of everything: sometimes they push me, and sometimes they try to poke with their stick. You can’t lose your concentration over something like that.”
– You started playing in Russia for Lokomotiv, and in America up until now you’ve played for the AHL. Is there a big difference between these two leagues?
“These are two totally different leagues, but the one thing I can say for sure is this: the level of hockey in Russia is quite a bit higher than the AHL. However, it was difficult for me personally in both leagues, and I prepared for every game without exception.”
–Were you approached by any teammates or coaches before the game today?
“Yes, all the Russian guys on the team. I have to give a huge “thank you” to them. They really encouraged me and supported me. I also saw the support of all the other players as well as the team management.”
– Were your parents able to be witnesses to such a memorable event in your life as this, your debut in the NHL?
“My dad is in Hershey right now. Unfortunately, he wasn’t able to come here. However, I am sure that my dad watched the game, since it was broadcast by all the sports channels in America. I’m going to call him right now and we will celebrate my successful debut together.”