[Back up and rewind, ladies and gents. According to this interview which appeared today on the official newsportal for Samara, Russia, the headline from our previous article on Varlamov appears to be invalid. Oh, and he wants to sign an eight year contract with the Caps.]
Semyon, you left Russia to play in a foreign country. What does America look like through the eyes of a Russian goaltender?
"It really seemed like a different world to me, everything there was quite different. As far as hockey, it's an absolutely different style of game, organized on a much higher level than we have. The people there are very different. To tell the truth, in America it's easier to lead a peaceful, orderly life. In Russia, everything is much harder. When I arrived from America, I immediately felt the difference: Americans are much more friendly, courteous, and kind if you will. This isn't a slam against Russians-- it's just a different mentality."
"As for everyday life, I had difficulties-in speaking, for instance. I don't know English very well, and I had quite a few problems this season because of that."
Were you able to make any friends?
"So far the only friends I've found are on the team-the Russian guys from Washington: Sasha Ovechkin, Sergei Fedorov. I really get along great with them, and we keep in constant contact."
How about the ladies? Are you planning on getting married sometime?
"No, I'm not planning on it. I don't have any girlfriends, and I don't really need any right now. I was in a relationship, of course, but right now I have such a heavy work schedule that I don't have time for it. Right now I am fully devoted to my favorite thing-hockey. I simply don't have any time for a personal life."
Hmmm. That's weird. Just a week ago in one of your interviews you were saying exactly the opposite. You were talking about how you had found a Russian girl in America and fallen in love...
"Well, yeah, but that was last week, and now my plans have abruptly changed."
...To the joy of your female fans. By the way, do you have a lot of them? Do they tear off your clothing after the games?
"No, my fans behave decently; it hasn't reached that point yet. They come up to me, ask for autographs, bring jerseys with my name on it so I'll write something on them... I haven't seen any special fanaticism. Maybe I'll see that in the future, but first I have to become as well known as Alexander Ovechkin. I haven't gotten there yet."
If you hadn't been introduced to hockey as a kid, what would you be doing?
"I probably would be a tennis player. I'm really attracted to that sport. And if I hadn't taken up any sport, then I probably would have continued on and done well in my studies. My parents are well educated, as well as my sister. I have a very smart family. I would have gone to one of our institutes."
Who do you compare yourself to in sports? Who is your idol?
"I used to consider Patrick Roy as my hockey idol. I wouldn't say, of course, that I compare myself to him-I was just really attracted to his style of play. Right now, the person I am trying to equate myself with is Roger Federer, the Swiss tennis player. I like how he devotes himself to the game, his favorite thing. This is a guy who is always at the highest level, constantly winning tournaments, and his high bar never falls. He is a very stable athlete. In my own game I'd like to achieve the same stability that he has."
Tell us about your professional plans for the future.
"I would really like to continue my career with Washington, and I hope that will happen for me. Right now my main goal is to keep my place on the main team. My contract with the Washington Capitals is up in two years, and I want to sign a long-term contract them: for five, seven, or eight years. Those are my plans."