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|23 ноября 2011
Avs' Semyon Varlamov prepares for company // Denver Post
By Adrian Dater
Russian goaltender Semyon Varlamov says he's looking forward to having his parents and sister in town, especially his mom's version of dumplings. ( John Leyba, Denver Post file )
For European players in the NHL, the holidays can be lonely, dispiriting times. For the young, unmarried ones, the holidays can be downright depressing. While North American players often receive visits from family, players from overseas usually have only cellphone calls or images over a computer monitor from loved ones.
So it was with an upward lilt in his voice that Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov talked about how much he's looking forward to his parents and sister soon moving in with him at his Denver home. On Saturday, his mother, Larisa, is scheduled to arrive from Samara, Russia, while sister, Julia, arrives next month and father, Alexander, comes in February.
"It's something I've been looking forward to," said Varlamov, who will start in net tonight for the Avs against the Vancouver Canucks?. "I talk to them every day on Skype, but it's not the same."
After weeks of eating at local chain restaurants, Varlamov is looking forward to the plates of vareniki — the Russian name for the dumplings he grew up eating from his mother's hand.
"They are my favorite," he said.
For Varlamov, having family around should help ease the continuing sadness felt since the tragic plane crash in September that took the lives of 43, most from his former Kontinental Hockey League team, Lokomotiv Jaroslavl. Perhaps more than any current NHL player, Varlamov was deeply affected by the crash on the banks of the Volga River? near Jaroslavl, Russia. He spent several years playing for the team, knew most everyone on the team, and might have played there again this season had he not been traded to the Avs by Washington in July.
Varlamov flew back to Jaroslavl to attend the funerals for several friends and former teammates, and like the rest of the Avs, wears a decal on his uniform honoring the memory of former Colorado defensemen Ruslan Salei? and Karlis Skrastins?.
Varlamov doesn't like to talk about the tragedy. While meaning
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"It happened, and you can't turn it back," Varlamov said. "I will always remember those guys. But I just don't think about it. I have to focus on (right now)."
Varlamov's father coached him when he was a child and continues to coach in Russia. Sister Julia works in banking in Russia and will be visiting only a short time. His mother plans to move in for the rest of the season.
"She's very, very smart," Varlamov said. "And very busy, busy."
Some veteran Avs teammates were quick to take Varlamov under their wing, especially after the crash. His roommate on road trips, Ryan O'Byrne, is single and knows the feeling of loneliness around the holidays. That's why, he said, it's important to develop a feeling of family on the team.
"Some of the European guys, you know their families are usually back home and a long ways away, so you try to look out for them a little bit more," O'Byrne said. "But Varly is an upbeat guy, a good guy. I'm sure it's going to be even better for him to have family around, though. We'd all like to have mom's cooking, that's for sure."
Varlamov is hoping Mom won't mind cooking for other teammates on occasion as well.
"For sure, I know she won't mind. She likes everybody to be happy and well fed," he said.