The Colorado Avalanche Mailbag is back for another season and the players are ready to respond to fan questions. This installment features Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov.
As always, your questions are in bold. If we feel the need to provide some additional commentary or clarification, it will come in italics before the player gives his answer.
Now, on to the Q&A:
If you were to score a goal, how would you celebrate it on the ice? – Nick, Ellensburg, Wash.
I don't know; I would probably jump in the air. I would be so excited—it is one of my dreams to score a goal. I saw Mike Smith of Phoenix score a few days ago; that was unreal. I hope I can score in the future. That would be great.
What is your pregame routine/ritual and is it the same for each opponent? – Billie (no location given)
It's more of a routine. I do lots of stretching, before morning skate and before the game. After morning skate, I get some lunch and take about a two-hour nap before going back to the arena to get ready for the game.
What did you do when you were younger to help you play the way you do today? – Ulysses, Denver, Colo.
It's all about hard work. If you're a hard worker, if you try to be a professional, try and do things right, and listen to your coach, all of those things will help you in the future.
If you could play another position other than goalie, which one would you play and why? – Felicia, Tampa, Fla.
That's a good question. I would probably play on defense, just because I can help protect the net more.
How has it been this season having two hockey legends in Patrick Roy and Francois Allaire coach you this season? – Jeff, Arvada, Colo.
It's a very exciting situation for me. I feel like I have two goalie coaches right now. It's nice to have a head coach that used to be a goalie and then have Francois Allaire as the goalie coach. Especially Francois Allaire, he has so much experience working with NHL goalies. He's been working in this league for 25-30 years, so he knows everything about goalies. To work with him every day is great for me, very helpful.
What do you miss about Russia? What is your favorite food? Do your parents visit you here in Colorado? – Jim, Littleton, Colo.
I miss my friends a lot. I have so many friends back in Russia, and it's nice to speak Russian more often. Russian food I think is one of the best foods in the world. Russian soups I think are probably the best. Russian pierogies are very good, too. My parents visit me every year. Last year my dad was here, two years ago my mom visited Denver.
I'm a goalie as well and I often get mixed advice about glove position, whether it's better to keep your glove high and move it down if necessary, or to keep it low and move it up if need be. I see a lot of goalies do both and was wondering which you prefer? – Micah, Ridgefield, Conn.
I try to keep my glove a little higher. That's how I play right now.
Are you excited about the Winter Olympics being held in Russia? How much do you want to be Russia's starting goaltender for the Olympics? – Michal, Guelph, Ontario
That is one of my dreams in my hockey career, to win the Olympics. This year, the Olympics will be back in my home country so it is going to be a pretty special tournament. Of course, you never know if you are going to go to the Olympics or not, you don't know the coaches' decision right now on who the goalies will be. That is my dream, to go to the Olympics and to win a gold medal.
Great season so far! Keep up the great work! I am a big fan and consider you one of the most flexible and quick goaltenders in the game. How do you maintain your flexibility throughout the season/offseason? Any advice? – Denis, Australia
I have had to work a lot on my flexibility. I started working on my flexibility when I was young, probably when I was seven or eight years old. I would stretch every day. Right now, I do the same thing; I do stretching every day pretty much. You have to stretch before practice, have a good warm-up, you have to work with your strength and conditioning coach, and have a good workout to be strong in the net and to be flexible.