Blog Entry

Varlamov talks about losing No. 1 role to Giguere

Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:08 pm
Varlamov has lost his starting role to Giguere. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Colorado Avalanche headed into the free agency period on July 1 last summer without anybody ready to take the reins in goal. They were widely considered the favorites to sign Tomas Vokoun until they surprised most people by backing off and instead trading for Semyon Varlamov of the Capitals.

It showed how much the Avs wanted Varlamov, who was on his way out of Washington anyway. They shipped the Capitals a their first-round pick in the 2012 draft and a second-round pick in either 2012 or 2013. They also signed veteran Jean-Sebastien Giguere to be his backup.

The expectation was pretty clear: Varlamov was going to be the Avs' starting goalie, and hopefully do that for a long time. After all, he's only 23.

Problem is, Varlamov hasn't played like a franchise goalie, instead showing the form that led the Capitals to having no problem in trading Varlamov away. His record this season is 14-15-1. His goals against average is 3.00 and save percentage at .899. Conversely, Giguere is having a bit of a career revival with a 2.15 GAA and .921 save percentage.

That has led to coach Joe Sacco taking the title of starting goaltender and bestowing it upon Giguere, not Varlamov.

"J.S. is playing well right now, and it's good for the team," Varlamov told the Denver Post. "I just have to keep working. I know it's going to be tough, but I just have to be ready -- always."

At least he's saying the right things. Let that be a lesson to all the aspiring professional hockey players out there: stick to the clichés and you'll be fine. Watch a little Bull Durham and you're good to go.

Unfortunately for Varly, he hasn't been doing the right things on the ice. He hasn't played since he was abused for six goals by the Coyotes nine days ago.

"That's why I'm not playing right now, I think," Varlamov said. "But it's a long season. We still have 30 games after the break."

He has a lot of work to do if he wants to reclaim the lion's share of the work. The Avs are one of the surprise teams in the NHL at the All-Star break, I don't think many people saw them holding a playoff spot at this point, even if it is the eighth and final spot. Giguere is a large reason why, he has been excellent.

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Since: Sep 2, 2006
Posted on: January 26, 2012 12:55 pm

Varlamov talks about losing No. 1 role to Giguere

Looking like a great deal for Washington. Varly was most likely heading back to Russia if the Caps had not traded him. If that had ahppened, the Caps would have gotten nothing. Now, they most likely will have a top 8 or 9 pick from the Avs. The Caps already have Kuznetsov coming from Russia next year and now can restock their minors with some youth. They have too many 26/27 year old career minor league guys at Hershey.

Since: Apr 25, 2008
Posted on: January 26, 2012 9:37 am

Varlamov talks about losing No. 1 role to Giguere

Competition makes you better, so I see nothing wrong with this move.  As long as the player is a mature adult, they will work hard to try to earn the starting role back.  From the quote, sounds like Varlamov is handling this like a professional and a good teammate. 

Since: Sep 8, 2006
Posted on: January 25, 2012 10:21 pm

Varlamov talks about losing No. 1 role to Giguere

I don`t see what the harm is here, the Avs can either continue to put Varlamov in or they can try to make the playoffs. Me, I`d try and make the playoffs especially when your first draft pick is gone.
Keeping Varlamov on a short leash might do him a world of good, look at what the Habs did when Halak started outplaying Price two years back. They rolled with him and then went back to Price when it was over. This lesson helped Price immensely, not that Varlamov seems to be of that calibre goalie, but it could help him.

Since: May 16, 2011
Posted on: January 25, 2012 10:08 pm

Varlamov talks about losing No. 1 role to Giguere

Agreed. For Colorado to keep winning, Guguere basically has to put up the same numbers for the rest of the season, and I'm not sure that is possible. When the Avs traded their 1st for Varlamov people said it could be the top pick in the draft. It probably won't be that high but there is a good chance that Washington could be picking in the top ten, and that is terrible if the player you traded for isn't performing well.

Since: Nov 7, 2011
Posted on: January 25, 2012 4:36 pm

Varlamov talks about losing No. 1 role to Giguere

 I am not to sure why this required an article written about it. If you have a 3+ GAA on a team that is above .500 your starting job is most definetly going to be at risk. Give Giggy some credit for playing well here, he has earned the #1 spot and maybe Colorado should be looking for something else in the offseason.

Just to point out.... Colorado is not holding a playoff spot at the all-star break they are 2 points behind 8th and have played 2 more games then the 8th place Wild. Not to Mention Dallas is only 2 points behind Colorado in 10th and has a 3 game advantage. Personally I would not expect much out of Colorado in the 2nd half. The are my second favorite team, but they are too young and inexpeirence

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