After the stunning third-period comeback by Team Russia at the World Juniors to win the gold, Slava Malamud with Sport-Express called up team alumn Semyon Varlamov to get his reactions.
The telephone call found Varlamov at Dulles airport, where he was seeing off his sister as she flew back home.
"I'm ecstatic" said Semyon. "They guys were simply amazing! I am so proud! I've been wearing my Team Russia outfit all day. Look, people are staring at me again. Let ‘em look!"
What was your take on the game itself?
"Personally, I think that it started badly. The Canadians were playing a lot better, and they had opportunities where they could have even scored more. Still, when you are behind by three goals, you still have a chance. But if the Canadians had made a fourth goal, that would have been it. You'd just drop your hands. But Bobkov got right into the game, and the guys went into the third period with a great attitude. In the third period, I basically saw only one team on the ice. The Canadians were totally flat."
You yourself played in junior championships (Varlamov won silvers in 2006 and 2007-S.M.). Do you remember the team ever being at such an emotional pitch?
"I only saw the finale, and I watched it with great pleasure. The way the guys were celebrating was super. You just can't find the words to describe such a feeling. I'm very happy for them and I'm sure that all of Russia is celebrating with them. Those people who really love hockey all watch the junior championship. Because youth hockey is really interesting! When I was little, I always loved to watch it to see how the older guys played, and I still watch it with no less interest."
From your goaltending point of view, what was the significance of swapping out Bobkov for Shikin?
"Well, it happens that sometimes things just aren't going well for a goaltender. but Shikin was basically playing normally. It's just that when the score is 0:3, you have to change something, and the coach often changes goaltenders. This shook up the team. Bobkov saved the first 2-3 shots and showed his self confidence, and that passed itself along to his teammates. And I'm sure the coaches said just the right things to the players. And when Tarasenko took one upside the head in the second period, that also spurred the guys on. All in all, everything went right for the Russian team yesterday."