Semyon Varlamov, fresh off his 20-save night in Columbus, has just blogged another bloggy blog. In today’s installment, the Varlamonster discusses assimilating to the USA, his new English-language chops, fan enthusiasm, and the KHL.
Thanks for the questions and kind wishes. I’ll answer some on here now.
I like living in the USA. I feel more and more comfortable each year because now I understand and speak English better. If you’re not pretty good in the language, it can be hard. You can’t talk to the teammates, answer questions, or find solutions for problems. In general, you feel some discomfort. I felt it for two years. But now my English is getting better, and I don’t feel that way anymore.
You know that people in Canada are hockey geeks. Everybody knows the players, every taxi driver. People in USA love hockey, too. Our fans are awesome and we sell out every game. But I think hockey is the number four sport in popularity after baseball, football, and basketball. People don’t recognize me on the streets, and crazy fans don’t pursue me [Ed. note – We’re not sure how to translate smiley face emoticons from Russian, but there was one here]. Unlike Sasha Ovechkin or Sasha Semin. If they played for a Canadian team, fans on the street wouldn’t let up. When we go there for road games, people are just going crazy. Everybody tries to get an autograph.
I don’t follow the KHL closely; I just don’t have the time. But a lot of my friends are playing there. And it’s interesting for me to see how are they doing. I look at the box scores and read articles about the games. It’s interesting to follow the goalies who come from the North America – Nabokov, Danis, Caron. It’s clear they’re still adapting to the new rinks. It can be really difficult. Especially knowing that the hockey is different there, too. They need some time to adapt.