A few days ago, I saw something on Japers Rink that might explain the Caps “lack of legs” lately:
“It seems the Canuck Nation owes a small thank you to the staff at The Loden Hotel in downtown Vancouver. When Russian superstar Alexander Ovechkin was held to just three shots in the Canucks’ 3-2 win over Washington on Dec. 18, it could have had something to do with the fact the Capitals’ rookie party had gone long into the previous night in the penthouse suite of the boutique hotel overlooking Coal Harbour. Some say Ovechkin saw his first sunrise on Canada’s West Coast.” [Vancouver Sun]
Obviously this is all speculation, so who knows if this really happened. Regardless, the Russian Machine gets it. It’s the holiday season for chrissakes. You can’t tell someone that’s gone to an Andrew W.K. concert that there’s something wrong with Partying Hard. Who cares if you have a hockey game the next day? We’re in first. We can take an L or two. You got that whole time-zone thing as a convenient excuse. Nobody will ever know.
Welp, somebody found out. I guess Ovi shooting golf balls through the penthouse window at 7am naked will stir up some attention (made up, don’t believe).
Anyways, we asked friend of the blog Fedor Fedin to brave the Russian Internets and see if he could dig up anything juicy about the Rookie Dinner. Well, he did.
And so, without further ado, here is a Translated Russian interview with Semyon Varlamov dicussing the Olympics, his stellar play before his groin caught on fire and paying his way through the Caps Rookie Dinner. Take it away Fedor:
Championat.ru, Interview by Maxim Lebedev, Translated to English by Fedor Fedin
Q: Semyon, first of all, our congratulations to you on making the final Olympic roster! Were you nervous before the announcement?
A: Yeah, sure. I wasn’t 100 percent sure that I would have a place on the roster. Really, it was a real battle for the third goalie spot. The first two goalkeepers were clear: Evgeni Nabokov and Ilya Bryzgalov. I was a little nervous.. I took my chances as 50/50. It was great to see my name on the roster. I found it on the Internet. I am very happy and now it’s all about playing the next month and a half without injuries and get in my best shape for the Olympics.
Q: Let’s talk about the matches you have already played this season. Is one of these especially memorable? For example, one of your two shutouts, where you made about 40 saves.
A: I especially remember a game, in which Jose Theodore was substituted after six minutes of play. He let in 3 goals. We trailed 1 to 3. After two periods, we’re leading 4:3, but in the end of the 3rd we gave up a goal and went to a shootout. The shootout was what I remember: There were 11 or 12 rounds. Only after the 11th round, we were able to score (Chris Clark), and then [The Islanders] missed and we won this match. That was very memorable. [Ed. Note: Semyon was named first star of this game. Game notes]
Q: We observed that you were one of three stars four times in your last six attempts. Do you pay attention to these accolades?
A: Honestly, I don’t worry about it. Team victories and points in the standings are the most important to me. A personal performance is not very important. Of course, it’s pleasant when after the game, a puck is put in you hand, you sign it and throw it out to the fans. This is a nice moment, but after that I forget about it as soon as the game ends.
Q: Do you know that you are the youngest player on the Olympic team and that the second place guy is two years older than you? What do you think or does age not really matter?
A: I don’t worry about it. For me age doesn’t matter. I hadn’t put any thought into it before your question. Well, I’m young. I am one of youngest players on the Caps, and recently I had a rookies party. I was young, when I played for Hershey. I’m already accustomed to being younger than my teammates. When I played for the junior and youth teams, I was younger than guys by one or two years. So I don’t worry about it.
Q: Let’s finally talk about the rookies party you mentioned. Stanislav Chistov told me that the Ducks had very few rookies. So he was “caught”, and paid very much. The whole team had a good night, ordered expensive wines. A split occurred in three or four rookies. How did you make out?
A: I had it, too. I agree. It’s a downside for rookies, that we pay for it all. I also had big bill (Semyon laughs). It was not very nice, but I had to pay. But the party was really very fun. A rookies party happens once in a career. And I remember that party. We sat in a restaurant, had a great time. It was great.
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