There are quite a few eminent Russian forwards and defensemen over the pond. As of Russian goalkeepers, it's a bit different... Khabibulin, Nabokov, Bryzgalov. But now one can add Simeon Varlamov to this company. Varley, this is how Simeon is called in the States, has forced to talk about himself in North America during Stanley Cup playoffs.
Simeon, I remember you once said that playing in the NHL was your long-standing dream. And finally your dream came true, isn't it?
It's unbelievable (smiles). I've enjoyed every day of staying with Washington, enjoyed every second I was on ice. We had a great team, everyone supported me.
Were you pleased with the season a hundred percent?
Of course. After all, I finished it in the NHL and was the number one goalie in the playoffs. Before the start of the season I could only dream about it.
You were trusted to play in playoffs, this is worth a lot. Were you nervous?
Oh yeah (smiles). And my main task was to cope with the emotions. I was very nervous. But after two games I was playing on autopilot.
What was the most memorable moment of the season?
The seventh game of the first round when we won against Rangers and passed the first round. The price of any error was very high, and nobody wanted to be eliminated for a second time in a row at the very beginning.
And what about your awesome save in the Pittsburgh series, don't you remember?
Oh yeah! It really turned out very nice. It's a life time memory. Perhaps if Crosby could've shot to any other place, he could've scored. But it ended with Sydney giving it to my stick (smiles).
Was Washington's Coach Bruce Boudreau satisfied with you?
Yes. I talked with him at the end of the season. Our coach warned me that next season no one will give me a place in the net, I'll have to earn it.
I know how the mass media in America are able to "promote" the player, especially a successful one. Did you feel like a star?
Yes. There, the journalists talk to you before and after team's training or the game. So I felt the pressure. And as soon as I started playing as number one people started buying my jerseys. Anyway, if I feel like a star, I am only a mini star (laughs). I played only 13 games in the playoffs, and 6 during the season. What can be said... The real stars are Ovechkin, Fedorov, Kozlov.
When there's a lot of attention, is it good or bad?
Honestly speaking it's a distraction.
Do you have the army of fans already? Are those mostly girls? You are a nice looking guy...
Thanks for the compliment, but I have a girlfriend, so that I no longer look at the representatives of other sex. And I don't have a whole army of fans, I am still working on it (smiles). People approach me, take autographs, pictures. And it's nice, of course, when you see in the audience fans wearing jerseys with my name.
The fans overseas, I would say, are somewhat special. Can you remember anything funny?
Once a woman with a baby approached me. It seemed to me that the baby was not more than a month old..
No, no... This is not what you may think (laughs). She simply gave me a baby and said, "Could you sign please?" And I like, "Okey! Where?" And then I see a baby is wearing a tiny jersey, which, as it turned out, this woman had sewn by special order and the jersey had "Varley" and my number. I was in shock, and, of course, I thanked her.
And how do you communicate with the fans? Are you fluent in English now?
I thought that after the first season I'd speak fluent English. Well, if I'd spent the entire season in the farm club, I'd probably speak well. I was the only Russian in the team. But when I moved to Washington I spoke mostly in Russian.
You never know what is better ...
Is it better to play in Washington, learn and speak no English, than to play in the farm and learn to speak English? (laughs)
Do you know that Viktor Kozlov will play for Ufa next season and Sergei Fedorov also may be playing in the KHL?
I've heard. Of course, it is a pity that the two most experienced players have left, the leaders. It is a great loss. I think that it will affect the team. Washington didn't sign them... I can't comment on that. But the guys were very nice and helped us all in the locker room and on the ice.
Your alma mater "Lokomotive" was this year in the finals...
I know, I was following as much as I could. Saw the videos, the goals.
I can't help to ask you about your leisure time. How do you like the States' capital?
I like Washington a lot and I have gotten used to it. However I still live in apartments, which I have to share with one teammate or another (smiles).
What do you do at leisure time?
We'll go out, have dinner. What else? In general it's better not to write about it... (laughs).
Why? This is the most interesting part...
To be honest I spend almost all my free time with my girlfriend. She is from Russia, but lives in America.
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