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Rambler's Top100

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov, despite facing more shots than most of his top competition, has a legitimate chance to win the Vezina Trophy
25.03.2014. Dater, Adrian. Denver Post

"Varly for Vezina"? It has a ring to it. [para] Whether Semyon Varlamov has a realistic shot of winning the Vezina Trophy, given annually to the NHL's best goaltender, will be up to a vote of the league's general managers after the season.

Patrick Roy has a front-office title -- vice president of hockey operations -- to go along with his job as coach of the Avalanche. Though he doesn't have a vote for the Vezina, Roy said Varlamov deserves serious consideration.

"Without a doubt, he's in the top three," said Roy, who won three Vezinas in his career, all with Montreal. "We would not be where we are without him. Does he have my vote? The answer is yes."

With 11 games to go in the regular season, Varlamov is among the league's best in several goaltending statistical categories and is generally credited with spearheading the Avs' amazing turnaround. Entering play Monday night, his 34 victories were tied with three others for second in the NHL, one behind San Jose's Antti Niemi.

Varlamov's .925 save percentage trailed only Boston's Tuukka Rask (.929) and Tampa Bay's Ben Bishop (.927) among goalies with more than 35 games played. Where Varlamov might be hurt in the voting is his goals-against average, 2.48, compared with Rask's (2.07) and Bishop's (2.17). Varlamov has only one shutout, while Rask has six and Bishop five.

Then again, Varlamov has faced many more shots than those two, by a wide margin. Only Phoenix's Mike Smith has faced more shots (1,844) than Varlamov's 1,740. Bishop has faced 1,560 and Rask 1,444.

In 5-on-5 situations, Varlamov's save percentage is .935, trailing only Rask's (.942) and Bishop's (.938).

So while Rask and Bishop probably have the inside track to claim the trophy, won last season by Columbus' Sergei Bobrovsky, a strong finish by Varlamov heading into the playoffs still could give him the nod. He will start for the Avs on Tuesday night at Nashville as Colorado tries to break a three-game winless streak.

"It's nice to talk about it, but I'm more worried about the team than my own stats," Varlamov said. "There is too much other stuff to worry about."

The Avs showed their faith in Varlamov this season, rewarding him with a five-year, $29.5 million contract extension. At practice Monday, he worked on fine-tuning his game with Avs goalies coach Francois Allaire.
"I have to always keep working, trying to improve," Varlamov said. 'If you don't, you get into bad habits. This is something I must try to avoid." 

Страничка Семёна Варламова на сайте "Звёзды с Востока"


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