Slava Malamud over at Sport-Express has been busy lately. Today's issue has not only this great Varly interview, but he also had an interview with Alex Ovechkin, a translation of which you can check out of at TJ's site.
How unlucky can one man be? 21 years old is not the age for a player to enter into the higher-level injury risk category, yet how many injuries has Semyon Varlamov had over the past year-and-a-half? A frightening amount. A cracked tibia at the World Championships in Quebec City, a strained knee ligament last year, a pulled groin muscle, then another pulled groin muscle, and now the knee again. The other one, this time. And in his very first game after returning from his previous injury! Washington had sent Semyon to the farm-club to have a few reconditioning matches and regain his confidence, which he did, but he also strained a ligament again. And if that isn't sufficient reason for discouragement, consider the fact that there is only a month left before the start of the Olympics. And a strained ligament is pretty serious. You just have to feel sorry for the guy, and you can fully understand the frustration in his voice as the usually happy-go-lucky Varlamov talks about his troubles.
What's with all the bad luck you're having?
"I don't even know what to say. It's a total nightmare. The minute I recover from one injury, I get another..."
What's the diagnosis and what do the doctors say?
"I strained a lateral knee ligament. The doctors say two weeks. To be honest, its... well, I really can't say."
Can you skate at this time?
"No, only off-ice training. Apparently it isn't as bad as it seems. I'm doing a full workout: I can spin on the bike, I can work the muscles in my arms and legs. I can run, I just can't skate."
So there isn't a tear in the ligament?
"No, just a sprain. I was playing just fine in the game, and we were up 4:1 with 4 minutes to go, and then... I sat down a little awkwardly, stretched out my leg for the puck and felt a sharp pain in my leg."
And your previous injury had already healed?
"Yeah, no problems with the groin. What can you say? Just bad luck. "Nevezukha"
Will this injury interfere with your Olympic plans?
"I don't know."
Have they called from Russia yet?
"No, there haven't been any calls from Russia yet. Of course I hope that I'll be fully healed by Vancouver."
Do the doctors guarantee it?
"Oy!!... If I'm not fully healed by Vancouver, I'll hang myself! For real. You can write that down."
P.S. Fortunately it doesn't look like things will come to that. On Saturday, Washington coach Bruce Boudreau said that depending on the intensity of Varlamov's off-ice training, he should be able return to full training sometime this week.