All photos by Sweetest Hockey On Earth’s Kyle M.

On July 1st — the first day of Free Agency — the Capitals dealt 23-year-old Semyon Varlamov to the Colorado Avalanche for a first-round pick in the 2012 Entry Draft and a second-round selection in either 2012 or 2013. After weeks of speculation that pointed to Varly not returning to Washington and even potentially landing in the KHL, the Avalanche submitted an offer that General Manager George McPhee couldn’t refuse.

“We were hoping to have Semyon back this year and play a full season so we could get that kind of value for him next summer because we knew next summer we were going to have to do something with one of the goaltenders,” McPhee told The Washington Post the day of the deal. “But we got that value now, and given the injury, I’m surprised we got that now.”

Varlamov immediately signed a three-year, $8.5 million contract with the Avs, who will give the young Russian every opportunity possible to be their starter. “Of course, every goalie wants to be No. 1,” Varlamov said when he was introduced to the Colorado media. “Injuries, everything is behind me. I see my future in Colorado right now.”

Meanwhile, the former Cap has good reason to be confident going into next season. Forty or so miles north of the Mason-Dixon line, Varly has been working with nationally-renown physical trainer Steve Saunders in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Saunders’ Power Train Sports Institute has worked with some of the most well-known athletes in this area including the NFL’s Hines Ward, Todd Heap, and James Harrison.  He has also trained former Hershey Bear Grant McNeil and Philadelphia Phillies’ ageless-wonder Raul Ibanez.

Varly has been plagued by a variety of injuries during his NHL career, suffering multiple groin pulls over the past two seasons. Saunders has been working with him on strengthening certain muscles around his groin to avoid the injuries recurring in the future.

“[Varlamov is] a very explosive guy,” Saunders explained to ABC27’s Gregg Mace in an exclusive interview. “The way he changes directions, as explosively and as fast as he does, we need to make sure those muscles are strong. And not only those muscles, but the muscles around it. That’s really where he’s had the problem. It’s really not his groin that’s weak. It’s very strong. It’s the muscles on the opposite side of that, that need work because he overuses his groin so much.”

Mace interviewed both Varly and Saunders at Power Train in Lancaster on Friday.  The entire interview and photos of the training session can be seen below. Gregg’s full feature will be aired on ABC27 News in Harrisburg on Monday night at 6 and 11 PM. Make sure to check it out.

Interviews

Additional Photos

  • 303Slewfoot

    Feel free to burn all of that old Caps gear, Semyon.

  • t0mz m

    Want back to capitals :(

  • EternalBlue

    Sure puts some worries to rest knowing he’s in such good hands to strengthen that groin area. Welcome to the Avs, Varly. I’m thinking burgundy & blue are your colors.

  • Peter Hassett

    Yes. Varly’s groin is in good hands.

  • http://twitter.com/NEWSfromtheNB NewsFrmTheNosebleeds

    Anyone wanna explain how Varly magically learned how to speak fluent English?

  • http://twitter.com/vtcapsfan99 vtcapsfan99

    Varly started speaking English last year.  First there was the Click on Me ad for Caps Con, speaking English at Caps Con, video of him at Caps team building event saying “Blowing Stuff…….Up”, him visiting school kids to teach them how to play hockey, then some interviews in English while rehabbing in Hershey (found on this very site).  I read in some Russian articles about how Varly took English lessons, and he also watched American TV, including Friends reruns.  He did his Avs press conference entirely in English, he did well, although it was obvious that he didn’t understand everything that was asked, sometimes the reporters had to rephrase the question with simpler words.

  • Dcfury202

    He did the same thing last year focusing on strengthening his groin and the muscles around it….hope it works out better for him this time

  • http://twitter.com/arakakij J

    Look what I got from Varlamov. In early April this year Varlamov
    took a bobblehead out of his car and offered it to me at KCI after morning skate.
    I remember he was starting for the Caps that night, and it was his last game in
    a Caps uniform. So yes, he already started giving away Caps gears at that point (I guess…).

  • http://twitter.com/NEWSfromtheNB NewsFrmTheNosebleeds

    Yeah yeah, I know; just a sarcastic rhetorical question, but still thanks for the answer. I just find it amusing how Varly never spoke English in any interviews when he was with us, but now he’ll do it since being traded.

  • pattyo

    Gotta love the avs hat with the Cap’s Dev camp t-shirt. Good combo!

  • Avs_Fan_In_STL

    I noticed that too! Can’t the Avs give him a shirt or can someone buy him a shirt from Wal-Mart?! haha

  • T.

    why is he still wearing a Caps t-shirt? At least he has an Avs hat!

  • conceptual garbage

    Get rid of that CAP’s shirt…!