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After notching his first playoff win and shutout Simeon Varlamov talked with Slava Malamud of Sport-Express of Russia.
Simeon Varlamov (and yes, he will make an attempt to change it to Semyon after the season… It’s a long story… Involving sea men) gave an interview to Sport-Express immediately following Game 3. For those unfamiliar with the Caps rookie due to his limited command of English, you should not be surprised at the level of eloquence and maturity in his responses. Varlamov consistently comes across as a perfect teammate with a positive attitude and an easy-going personality. And, by the way, he did come through on his post-Game 2 promise not to get rattled by MSG, didn’t he?
Q: Try to describe your feelings right now.
A: Feelings? Oh [expletive]! I am happy to get my first NHL shutout, but we are still down 2-1 in the series and I, and my teammates, remember this. So, yes, I feel a lot of joy for myself and for my team because we have won, but tomorrow will be a new day and this game will need to be forgotten.
Q: You had said after Game 2 that you were not afraid of MSG, especially after making your debut in Montreal. You did look quite comfortable out there, almost as if you were back in Yaroslavl and not in New York.
A: Back in Yaroslavl, huh? [laughing] Well, the experience that I got in Russia is helping me a lot now, obviously. But to be honest with you, I was nervous before the game. Not as much as in Montreal, but the nerves were there. First of all, it was 2-0 in the series and we had no right to lose. It is so fantastically hard to come back from being down 3-0. And yes, I was thinking about all of this and winding myself up. And the arena here is tough, too! There are lots of fans here, which actually makes it a pleasure to play in, but they did apply a lot of pressure on me. They support their team very well. I needed to control my emotions and I managed to do it in this game.
Q: Sean Avery was very active around your net today.
A: I think he was doing in on purpose. He is that kind of player, it’s his job to throw opponents off their game and he does it pretty well, as I see it. He does it very professionally and I think he is a good player. But tonight there were a couple of instances when he was really trying to get me off balance. He hit me in the face once. But I know that I shouldn’t pay attention to this and concentrate on the game.
A: Are you a kind of goalie that can retaliate to this kind of behavior?
Q: Like taking a goalie stick to his ankles once in a while?
A: I can do that but unfortunately the officials are always watching goalies and I have no chances to get him: it will be a penalty right away. When I was a kid and played for Lokomotiv’s farm team I would get away with that, but in Superleague I got warned immediately after the first time.
Q: Are you aware that you have just set a record?
A: No, which one?
Q: You have become the youngest goalie to have a playoff shutout in MSG.
A: Wow, great! I may have been the youngest goalie to record a playoff shutout at Arena-2000 [in Yaroslavl], too! I remember it very well because it was my last game in Yaroslavl and I knew it was going to be the last one. I was so happy! In the two previous years playing for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl I had never had a shutout on home ice.
Q: Is the whole thing about you being a rookie a bit overblown, then? You are not new to professional hockey and the playoffs.
A: Well, I am a rookie in the NHL and everyone knows it. But the two years in the [Russian] Superleague have given me a lot. As far as the mental part of the game, at least. If not for that, I would have had no idea what it’s like to play in a knock-out tournament like this. But really, nothing grandiose has happened yet! I have had but one shutout. We haven’t won the series yet and we haven’t won the Stanley Cup yet. Yes, we are happy now, but I will remember nothing of this tomorrow.