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Photo credit: Chris Gordon

Pretty much every time the Caps face off against a team with Russians, Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov hold court with their countrymen in the hallway just off the visitor’s bench.

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The Caps’ fourth line, who had been irritating Colorado all night, drew a big penalty late in the second period. After Tom Wilson drove to the crease, Semyon Varlmov threw a left cross that hit the Toronto native square in the face.

Not really though. Varly got all face shield. Great acting job by Willy Baby.

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Photo: @a0gr8

Wednesday night ahead of Washington’s game against the Avalanche, Caps Russians Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov reunited with Semyon Varlamov and hung out in downtown Denver. If Ovi and Kuzya had put on those cowboy get-ups again, we might have hit the RMNB pageview jackpot.

Unfortunately, The Varlamonster won’t play tomorrow night because of #brittlegroin so, no, three years later, nothing has really changed.

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As evidenced by some Instagram photos last weekend, former Washington Capitals goaltender Semyon Varlamov is back in the states to start training for next season– just like his Russian compatriots Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov.

Varly, who finished second in voting for last year’s Vezina Trophy, is working out with expert trainer Steve Saunders for the third straight offseason.

Last week, to improve his explosive strength, Varly attached himself to a bungee cord and did some power jumps away from the wall. It did not go well.

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Photo: @kuzy092

Saturday night, Washington Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov drove up to Atlantic City to watch the WBO light heavyweight champion of the world, Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev, box Blake Caparello. Kovalev hails from Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kuznetsov’s hometown, and won via a vicious TKO in round two.

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Semyon Varlamov Loses Another Game Seven

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Photo: Ron Chenoy

Former Capital Semyon Varlamov had an incredible year for the Colorado Avalanche, taking the Avs from last to first in the standings. He is likely to win the Vezina Trophy in June as the league’s best goaltender.

Unfortunately for Varly, this season — like many in the past — ends with a bitter taste in his mouth. Semyon Varlamov played in another game seven, and Semyon Varlamov in game sevens is not very good.

Against the Wild on Wednesday, Varly played his first game seven in four years — since he put up an .875 save percentage against the Montreal Canadiens. Varly was shaky again against Minnesota, making 30 saves on 35 shots for a .857 save percentage. He gave up the series-winning goal to Nino Niederreiter five minutes into overtime.

Varlamov is 1-for-4 in game sevens in his career with a lifetime .857 save percentage.

There’s only one thing left to do.

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Photo: Doug Pensinger

In Patrick Roy’s first game as head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, he set the tone of the Avs’ season when he got into a glass-shoving incident with Bruce Boudreau on the bench. The Avs, who went from worst to first this season, have taken on Roy’s fiery personality.

Even young Russian daffodil Semyon Varlamov has allowed parts of Roy’s take no shit attitude to seep into his game. Consider Friday night against the Minnesota Wild.

In Game One, as the Wild’s Mikko Koivu attempted to pressure an Avs breakout, he got a bit too close to Varlamov’s crease and he learned that you DON’T SASS THE VARLAMONSTER.

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Photo: @m0tar

On Sunday, the Colorado Avalanche held their fan appreciation night at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Just like the Capitals, each Avs player gave the jersey off his back to one adoring fan.

After making 30 saves in 65 minutes of work (plus a shootout), a very tired Semyon Varlamov was the first to give his jersey away.

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Varly's teammates congratulate him on the win. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)

Varly’s teammates congratulate him on the win. (Photo credit: Nick Wass)

Photo credit: Patrick Smith

In April 2009, a young Russian goalie by the name of Simeon Varlamov started game two of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals after number one netminder Jose Theodore’s poor game one. The 21-year-old didn’t speak passible English, sported a unibrow, and soon became the talk of the NHL.

Varlamov allowed one goal in his first game and posted a shutout the next. In six games versus the New York Rangers, Varlamov allowed a mere seven goals. Though the Caps would eventually lose to the Penguins in game seven of the semifinals, it appeared that Washington had found their goalie of the future. But two years later, Varlamov (with the spelling of his name now changed to Semyon) was unceremoniously sent to the Colorado Avalanche for a pair of draft picks.

Varly had become Washington’s main goalie after Theodore departure, but after battling groin injuries as an explosive, athletic goaltender, he struggled to get back in the crease when healthy. Bruce Boudreau, the Caps coach at the time, seemed to favor fellow 2006 draft pick Michal Neuvirth. With his contract up at the end of the 2011-12 season, Varly wanted to be assured of starting spot. The Caps weren’t interested in that. On July 1, Varlamov was sent to Colorado. He signed a three-year contract with the team the next day.

Now, three years later, Varly was back in Washington to face Neuvirth for the first time. At least in the first round, he came out on top.

“I was so nervous,” Varlamov said in much improved English, as his teammates cheered him on in the background. “Lots of memories to play here. That was my first game since I left Washington, that’s why I think I’m too nervous in warmup. My legs were shaking. All of the first period, my legs shaking.”

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