Defenseman Josh Godfrey (Washington’s second choice, 34th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft) of Team Canada and goaltender Simeon Varlamov (Washington’s second choice, 23rd overall in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft) of Team Russia are both currently representing their respective countries in the Super Series, and eight-game tournament between the Canadians and Russians that began yesterday in Russia. (Canada took Game 1 by a 4-2 score; Game 2 is on Wednesday.)Last month, both Godfrey and Varlamov were in town for Washington’s annual summer development camp. We had a chance to speak briefly with both Capitals prospects. The Godfrey interview was a one-on-one situation while other reporters were involved in the Varlamov interview.Josh GodfreyHow did this week measure up with the expectations you had coming in?
“I didn’t really know what to expect. I came into the camp looking to learn as much as I could. I learned a lot this week about nutrition and how I need to treat my body to play at this level.”You’re known for the huge cannon shot from the point, but we watched you skate a good bit of the ice, put a nice move on a goalie and score a pretty goal without using the bomb. Of the 33 goals you scored this season, how many would you say came on bombs from the point?
“Out of the 33? Twenty-five, maybe. I didn’t score too many from inside the tops of the circle, that’s for sure.”There are a lot of good defensemen at camp here this week. Some who were just drafted and some who’ve played several years of college and have a bit of pro experience. How do you think you stacked up against them all?
“They’re all good guys and they’re all good players. We all have our different strengths and things we need to work on. It was just a lot of fun meeting all these guys and playing with them.”What’s the rest of the summer going to be like for you?
“I’m going to go home and train for a couple more weeks, then go back to Sault Ste. Marie where I play my junior hockey and skate with some pro guys there. Then I’ll be off to Russia and once that’s over I’ll be back here in Washington for main camp.”How does a camp like this help prepare you for September’s main camp?
“It’s definitely an eye-opening experience. We had meetings with coaches, and they told us stuff we needed to work on, what they wanted us to improve on over the summer to be ready for camp.”What are the things you feel you need to work on in order to achieve your goal of playing in the NHL?
“Being a young defenseman, you always have your mental lapses in your own zone and you want to clean those up. But they told me to just come in and play my game and do what I do best.”
*****Simeon VarlamovHow do you like D.C. so far?
“The atmosphere is great. I get along well with the other guys. The only problem I have is lack of English. I like the training process and playing here, and I like the city as well.”How does it feel signing your first pro contract?
“I’m very happy. It took me all my life to get here and to sign my first NHL contract is a dream come true. The only thing that’s left is to actually play in the NHL.”Can you give people an idea of who the goalie was that you modeled your style on?
“My childhood hero was Patrick Roy. I didn’t want to actually play like him, but I liked his style and the way he played. But after he retired, Miikka Kiprusoff was my No. 1 choice.”Tell us about your game. What are the best parts of your game as a goaltender, and what do you feel you need to work on to get better and achieve your goal of playing in the NHL?
“I’m a quick skater. Physically, I’m there. But there is still a lot of work left, and I hope to catch up with the goaltender coaches with the Caps.”It seems like you’re good in traffic, and you don’t get rattled when guys are there at the top of your crease trying to rattle you.
“Yes, there are a lot of bodies and a lot of shots. As soon as guys get the puck, they shoot. In Russia, they usually skate into the zone and maybe give a pass. But not here. There is great screening in front of the goal and that is why you have to keep your composure and be ready at all times.”