Varlamov: Fatigue Slowly Setting In?

[Following Washington's second win against Pittsburgh earlier this week,  Capitals' goalkeeper Simeon Varlamov answered a few questions from Sport Express correspondent Slava Malamud.]

Your team can't seem to play well for a full sixty minutes, but they're 2-0 in the series. What's up with that?

"You just have to score at the right times, and that's just what Sanya Ovechkin did today."

Everyone was waiting for Ovechkin to make his mark. Were you amazed at what he did today?

"It wasn't only me that was amazed, but everybody else. I think Sanya is the best player on earth. And I think that a lot of people would agree with me on that."

Just like in the first game, you followed up your first allowed goals with some unbelievable saves. Is this an indicator of your coolness under pressure?

"Of course you can't just give up. You want to stop everything, but sometimes that doesn't happen. Today the main thing was to cope with Pittsburgh's attack and wait for one of our leaders to step up."

How important was that episode in the first period when you held off the five-on-three?

"Yeah, I'll agree with you that that was one of the key moments. If we had allowed one in, it would have been very tough to overcome a 0:2 deficit. Pittsburgh could have gone on the defense and played like that until the end of the game."

There was a moment when Crosby shot first, and then it seemed like you fished the puck out of the twine, and then there was Gonchar's shot which you gloved away. Did you really make the first save, or did it hit the pipe?

"I think I got my stick on it, but I'd have to watch the replay. That'll show everything."

Once again you pulled out a win in a game in which Washington didn't seem to have it all together.

"I wouldn't say that I ‘pulled it out', but we really did retreat quite a bit, which you can't do against a team like Pittsburgh. After all, they have Malkin, Crosby and a whole bunch of other guys who can play really well in the PP. That was something we absolutely had to control, and overall we played pretty good."

All three goals for Crosby were made from the crease. I understand that two of these were made on the PP, but doesn't it seem to you that he is being allowed to stand in front of your nose way too much?

"Crosby always plays well in the crease, and it's very difficult to knock him out of there. He's good on playing rebounds and sometimes we aren't able to respond to that. Well, that just means that we can't have rebounds. Maybe towards the end, when we were leading by two goals, we got tired, lost our concentration, and couldn't tie up all six of their players. Although that is what the defensemen are supposed to do. I can't yell at them during their shot that I need to catch the puck."

Ovechkin said that it might help that you don't speak English, since you don't fully understand what they are saying and don't get nervous. Is that so?

"I wouldn't say that I don't know any English. I understand everything; it's just hard for me to carry on a conversation. That's why I act like I don't know anything."

Did your glove let you down again? Just before the first goal it looked like the puck once again bounced from your hand into the crease.

"No, what actually happened is that I didn't react and the puck didn't fall into my glove, but rather hit Steckel who was standing right there."

You were using a new glove in practice.

"And new leg pads and a new blocker. So does that mean I've got a problem with all of those?" (laughing) "The thing is that the glove is already worn out and that's why I'm trying to break in a new one as soon as possible."

You're heading to Pittsburgh, leading 2-0 in the series. Do you have a lot of confidence in yourself?

"The confidence is there, but we know that it is going to be a lot more difficult there."

Is fatigue slowly setting in?

"Of course. Even though I haven't played a lot of games this season, the playoffs are really exhausting." [For related thoughts, be sure to check out Dmitry Chesnokov's appearance on WPL. - Ed.]

By the way, you've played more minutes in the Cup playoffs than you did in the regular season.

"That's how the year turned out. I was dogged by injuries all the time. I was injured at the beginning of the season and then again in the middle of the season. I was out almost two-and-a-half months. If not for that, I would have played in around 50 games." [In the NHL and AHL - Ed.]

At the beginning of the season you said that you would return to Russia "only if they totally despise me here" . Now is there a feeling that your place on the team for next year is already reserved? And if not, that it would be a terrible injustice?

"To be honest, I'm not thinking about next season right now. But I do know that when I come back for the pre-season, I'll have to fight and once again earn a spot on the team. They aren't just going to automatically give it to somebody."

Are you following the world championships?

"Not very closely. I've got enough worries right now. Besides, my internet connection at home is broken."   

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