Today, Semyon Varlamov became the first member of the Colorado Avalanche to sign overseas with another team. Varlamov will be playing for the rebuilt Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team. There was a rumor last week about him signing (as discussed here), but nothing was confirmed until today. You may remember that Varlamov began playing for Lokomotiv when he was 11 years old, and that he nearly went back to play for them when he and the Washington Capitals were in a contract dispute. I think most of us assumed that if he chose to play elsewhere, he would go back to Lokomotiv, a place that he calls his “second home”. I know there are some out there who are worried that Varls might injure himself, and endanger the Avs season, should it ever start after this indeterminable lockout. I am personally not one of them. Yes, there are risks that come with playing hockey, but there are risks in life as well. Varlamov could wake up tomorrow, eat some of his mother’s pancakes, and strain his back,
hello remember Dustin Penner? While he does increase his risk of injury, he was never completely free of it either. Honestly, I think it is in his best interests, for a young player like Varlamov in the goaltending position to play professionally. He needs to stay sharp, and losing a year at this crucial stage of development could hinder his performance for the rest of his career. Varlamov’s main problem now is his consistency; and I think we should applaud him for doing his best to play in as many games as possible, so that he can strengthen his mental edge. Let’s remember too that Varlamov won the World Championships in May-he could very well be on the edge of establishing himself as an elite goaltender, but to do that he needs to be performing in high-intnsity situations.
Also, the NHL announced today that they have cancelled the rest of the preseason. This means the Avalanche lose three more games, including the novelty one to be held in Kansas City against the Rangers.