All photos by Kyle M. of our Hershey Blog, Sweetest Hockey On Earth
Semyon Varlamov returned to the U.S. on August 1st, a full month and a half before training camp began. Varly’s intention was to get his body in optimal shape for the upcoming season after losing several months to a groin injury last year. Success would be three-fold: avoid injury, become Washington’s number-one goaltender, and get better acquainted with Caps fans.
Despite tough training work, a commendable effort, and some true blogging prowess, the first two months of the season have been a complete disaster for Semyon (except for maybe that awesome Caps Convention commercial – CLICK ON ME!!!).
Sometime in the middle of training camp, Varly succumbed to #brittlegroin, the exact same injury that lost him a big chunk of last year and has sustained our joke quota for too long. Undaunted, Varly quietly rehabbed his injury behind-the-scenes with the Caps training staff and spent the first three weeks of the regular season on IR. On October 19th, Semyon saw his first action of the year in relief of Michal Neuvirth, who had a touch of the flu. In 45 minutes of play, Varly stopped 13 of 14 shots in a valiant 3-1 loss to the Boston Bruins. Varly started the next game with the Bruins, in which he and the Caps were taken to the woodshed. Next thing we know, Varly has re-injured his man region.
After a few weeks of recovery, the Capitals finally assigned Semyon Varlamov to Hershey for a rehab start. During Thursday’s hour-long practice, Mark French ruled him out of Friday night’s game and Varly debuted a brand-new goalie mask.
When ABC27’s Gregg Mace (F.O.T.B.) caught up with the young Russian netminder, he asked about the injury:
Yeah of course it’s pretty bad for goalies, because I wanna play every game, I wanna play a lot. If i have an injury, I’m not playing. So, I work out my body a lot in summer time, so… I think it’s gonna be a better… everything is gonna be better.
Gregg was also nice enough to share with RMNB some of the backstory behind his conversation with the young Russian netminder:
This was the first time I’ve interviewed Varly and was his first full tv interview in English. When I approached him, he seemed more than willing to do the interview after practice, without a translator, but let me know that his English might not be that good. Well, not only was his English very GOOD, but he had some great answers to our questions. Afterwards, I told Bears trainer Dan “Beaker” Stuck what a great job Varly had done. He brought Varly over to me and I let him know as well. He asked for a copy and we’ll give him a DVD of the interview so he can show his family what great progress he’s made with his English. For those of us in Hershey, it’s great to have him back, even if it’s just for a few games. He’s a charming young man.
Thanks to Gregg Mace from ABC27 for this interview with Varly.