Reflections on a Special Night

Simeon VarlamovOur favorite Russian correspondent Dmitry Chesnokov passed along to us a translation of a SovetskySport interview of Capitals’ Head Coach Bruce Boudreau and his new netminder, Simeon Varlamov, from Saturday. SovSport has a lot of guys in North American cities covering the NHL. One of them, Gennadi Boguslavski, met with coach Boudreau before the game and asked a couple of questions about Varlamov. If your Russian is sharp you can read the original interview here.

SovSport: Coach, who will play in goal tonight?
“Someone will definitely play.”  And then Boudreau added. “Varlamov. 
Simeon Varlamov.” [Boguslavki said it sounded a lot like “Bond. James Bond.”]

SovSport: What did Varlamov say when you told him about your decision?
“Only one word “good.”  It was enough to realize that he was ready for the debut.”
SovSport: Johnson is not healthy.  Maybe [Brett] Leonhardt who the day before was on the bench also made the trip?
“No, Leonhardt stayed in Washington.  He has started writing a book about his short career in the NHL.”
After the game Boguslavski chatted with Varlamov.
“My hair has probably turned gray after the last three hours.  How does it look?” – Varlamov asked.
SovSport: Was it difficult to play in Montreal?
“The most difficult was to control my emotions before the game.  Not to burn out. I had so many thoughts in my head. And it destructed me a lot. But the win made me stronger.  Today my dream came true. It was important for me to get the win. I always won on my debut nights — for Team Russia, in the Superleague. Although, in Yaroslavl on my debut there were only about two thousand people in the stands. And here there were twenty two. A huge difference.”

SovSport:  What did your teammates say after the game?
“All the guys congratulated me and wished me to have a great career.  But now I have to talk to the goaltenders’ coach to go over my mistakes.”

SovSport: Were your parents here to witness your debut?
“My father is in Hershey right now.  Unfortunately, he was unable to make it to Montreal.  Otherwise we would get a chance celebrate together.  I think he is still on front of the TV taking Corvalol [heart medication and a mild tranquilizer popular in Russia].  I am going to give him a call right now to calm him down,” – Varlamov said
with a smile.

SovSport: The third period was the most difficult for you.  You faced 14 shots.
“It was hot.  But at the end of the game I told myself: “These are the most difficult two minutes of your career.”  I kept repeating these words all the time and tried hard not to let a goal in.  Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself.”
Alexander Ovechkin walked by and overheard the conversation and said:
“Please write the following in all caps: “This is Varlamov’s win!” How many saves Simeon made after one on ones! He made all kinds of saves: in a split, on his back, and maybe even with his shoelaces on his skates!”

SovSport: The whole team played a very emotional game.
“We wanted to prove to Montreal that we must be respected. Here are Carbonneau’s words that he said after the game in Washington three weeks ago . . . “
Ovechkin pointed to a piece of paper that was put on the wall where Carbonneau’s words about luck and not really testing Theodore were highlighted. And then Ovechkin added:
“What now? What will Carbonneau say after tonight’s game? That we were lucky again?”

Chesnokov had an opportunity to speak with Varlamov as well over the weekend.

“I found him extremely happy in the locker room, sitting in Kolzig’s former (now Theodore’s) stall soaking up the atmosphere,” Dmitry told us. “I asked him how he got the call.” 
Valamov: “Well, we were on a bus from San Antonio to Houston. It’s about 10 am, I am leaning against the window bored. And then my cell phone rang. I looked who it was and it said Ovi8. What happened? So I picked up and Ovie yelled: “Theodore got a minor injury! Get ready!” About half an hour later the Bears’ coach told me officially. The bus stopped at some gas station in the middle of nowhere in about an hour from Ovechkin’s call. Then some car pulled up to the gas station. My bag was thrown into that car and I took a three hour trip to Houston where I was put on a plane to
DC Reagan airport. I arrived at about 10 to 7. And the game started at 7. The person who was picking me up brought the things for me to change with him and told me to change in the car. When we arrived at the arena I rushed to put the rest of my gear on. It must have been the quickest I have ever been when putting my pads and skates on. I didn’t even realize that I had to go out there and sit on the bench. I was told I was traveling to Montreal with the team initially. I had my eyes wide open! When I came out to sit on the bench 10 minutes had already been played. It was like a blur. There I saw Ottawa’s captain Daniel Alfredsson skating by… It was like on TV! The arena didn’t look that big at first, but when I raised my head… My god! It looked like a skyscraper! So many people!”
Chesnokov: Varlamov kept packing his gear in the bag himself. I haven’t seen anyone packing their own bags. He told me: “See my helmet?  Too bad I haven’t had time to have the paintwork done.”
After all reporters left the locker room to go to coach’s press conference Varlamov realized that he was all alone in the locker room.
“Where is everyone?” he asked me. I said: “Taking a shower, getting dressed. You have a plane to Montreal to catch!  You better hurry up!”  Varlamov got up and held his two shoes in his hands. He was still wearing the Caps underwear. “I don’t even know where my clothes are! All I have are these two shoes. I have to go find the guy who drove me here, because he has all my clothes.” Varlamov said it with a smile and went to the dressing room.

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6 Responses to Reflections on a Special Night

  1. Flying Cloud says:

    Thanks for that, pucksandbooks, a cheerful coming-of-age story for a drizzly Monday morning!

  2. Megan says:

    I absolutely adore Varly. I’m so happy he’s had this chance!!!!

  3. this space for rent says:

    What am amazing story, just all the way around. 🙂
    You, I think in ten years we’re going to be playing “what year was it?” on the jumbotron, and Brett Leonhardt’ll come up.

  4. Jimmy Jazz says:

    How cool is Ovechkin? Calling a minor league prospect to give him the good news — nothing he does surprises me anymore.
    Varlamov has a nasty glove. I’m looking forward to seeing a lot more of it.

  5. Matt says:

    What fabulous reporting! Another testament to the OFB Team, and another reason why my Monday mornings begin here at onfrozenblog.

  6. OrderedChaos (Mike Rucki) says:

    Thank you all! For more Varly coverage, check out Tuvanhillbilly:

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