WASHINGTON - JANUARY 14: Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Washington Capitals makes a save against the Vancouver Canucks at the Verizon Center on January 14 2011 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Following the disappointing overtime loss to the Flyers last night, Pavel Lysenkov with Sovetsky Sport caught up with Semyon Varlamov to get his thoughts on the game and the prospect of a season opener in Russia next year.
Why was Neuvirth pulled?
"The coach said he was feeling a little discomfort."
Was that unexpected for you?
"A backup goaltender always has to be ready for something like this. But I was given a heads-up that Michal wasn't 100 percent and he might ask for a change. Knowing this, I was preparing for the game."
How did you get beat in overtime?
"Their defenseman rolled up to me and shot under my glove. I didn't have time to react."
In the last game against Ottawa the team started out down 0-1 but scored two goals in 45 seconds. Tonight you were down 0-2 and scored two goals in 40 seconds. What's going on with Washington?
"The fact that we are playing badly the first two periods. We aren't scoring. Only then do we start saving ourselves. We need to give it our all for the entire sixty minutes. We are constantly allowing the first goal. But this is a very powerful league. To fight back, you have to break through the other guy's defense-you have to put forth a lot of effort. It isn't always successful. So we need to score first and carry the game. Then everything will be okay."
Half your team was walking around the ice. It wasn't as much a game against Philadelphia as a military operation!
"We always play aggressively against the Flyers. But not everyone has fresh injuries. Games are played every other day, and guys get hit with pucks, they take them in their joints. So the season is carried out with injuries of varying severity."
What do you think of Sergei Bobrovsky and his debut season in the NHL?
"I know Sergei well, we ran into each other on the national team. Bobrovsky is having a great season. He's a great guy! If you make it to the NHL in your very first season you've already played 28 games, then that shows that the guy is talented and he works a lot on himself and his mistakes. And you can achieve a lot of success if you don't stop."
What are they saying in Washington about the trip to Russia?
"Nothing. Nobody knows if we are going or not. But I wouldn't be opposed to flying home. The game could be really lively! If we play an exhibition game against a KHL team-of course everyone will be rooting against us. Although of course you can find some who would support Washington. There can be darkness in other people's soul..."
When Carolina played in St. Petersburg last year, it was very surprising. SKA came out like it was war, even though it was an exhibition match. Do the Capitals understand that they might be in for a bashing in Russia?
"I didn't see their game. But if Washington plays against a KHL team, then they will play at full force. Even if it is only a preseason meeting."