Semyon Varlamov has arrived on Long Island!
The Islanders new goalie, who inked a four-year deal on July 1, is settling in on the Island, skating with some of new teammates in the leadup to training camp. NewYorkIslanders.com dropped by the rink for a Q&A with Varlamov, covering his first impressions of Long Island, summer in Texas, goals for the season and more.
NewYorkIslanders.com: So, what are your first impressions of Long Island?
Semyon Varlamov: We just came here with my family last week. We haven't had a chance to look around that much, we've been busy with the house situation and everything and trying to get settled. It's been a busy week, but what can I say, Long Island is a beautiful place to live. There's a lot of nice places here and you live near the ocean, what can be better than that?
NYI: You've at least got to see the team's practice facility and meet a few of the guys - Matt Martin, Thomas Hickey and Thomas Greiss - what are your initial thoughts?
SV: The practice facility is sick. It's brand new, everything is nice. I've met a lot of nice people here. I'm the new guy on the team, so I don't really know anybody. Hopefully more guys come next week since it's only five of us skating, so it'll be nice to get to know each other. Right now we're just getting ready for training camp, we do some workouts here and skate here, so it's a nice practice facility and nice atmosphere.
NYI: You've been skating with Thomas Greiss these past few days. Are you excited about forming a partnership with him in net?
SV: Thomas has been in the league for a long time and he's a great goalie, great person and is working really hard in practice. I can tell he's a hard-working guy. It's going to be fun hockey season for us, we have a lot of things to do together. My goal is to help this team win the Stanley Cup.
NYI: Mitch Korn and Piero Greco have extensive resumes with developing goalies, are you excited to have a chance to work with them?
SV: I'm very excited to start working with these two guys. They are very experienced goalie coaches. Mitch Korn has been in the league for almost 30 years and Piero is an experienced goalie coach, so I am very excited to start working with them and learn something new. I'm 31, I'm still open to learn something because the league is changing, the game is changing, so goalies need to come up with some new ideas. I know we can trust these two guys and they are going to help us improve our game.
NYI: What are your goals coming into this season?
SV: The goal is the same; to win the Stanley Cup one day. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to play for this team. I think this organization is definitely going in the right direction. That was part of my decision. Everybody has seen the good things happening with the New York Islanders the last two years. They have a great coaching staff, great management and a great team. A lot of hockey players want to come here and take the opportunity playing for this team. I was one of them.
NYI: How did you spend your summer?
SV: I was in Texas most of the time, spending time with my family and kids. We have a house there. I was in Texas for six weeks training there and then went to Denver for two weeks. In August I was [in Denver] skating with a bunch of guys.
NYI: How did you wind up with an offseason home in Texas?
SV: [My wife] is originally from Spain, but her parents live in Lubbock, Texas. It's a small town in the middle of nowhere. That's where Texas Tech is.
NYI: What's your house like in Texas? Is it a big ranch like Brent Burns?
SV: We don't have a big ranch. No animals, horses, nothing like that, no goats. It's a summer house for us. We just built a pool there which is pretty cool. We spend most of our time in Texas. After the season I go back to Russia usually for two or three weeks with my family and friends.
NYI: Where do you skate/train in Texas?
SV: There's no ice rink there. It's just off-ice training. I fly my strength coach to Texas. He's from Philadelphia, so this summer he came from Philadelphia to Texas for six weeks of training. I usually start skating in the beginning of August. I go to Aspen, I train there in the high altitude. It's a really cool place to train.
NYI: Who do you train with in Aspen?
SV: My agent does some training camps for Russian prospects in Aspen. He does some training camps in Aspen in the middle of the summer.
NYI: Your former teammate Derick Brassard just joined the team. What are your thoughts on him becoming an Islander?
SV: My buddy Brassard. I sat right next to him on the plane last year when he got traded from Florida. I texted him last night. I didn't even know he signed with the Islanders, I saw it on the news, I was very excited so I texted him right away and welcomed him to the team. With him, we're going to have a lot of fun this year.
NYI: What does/can Brassard bring to the lineup?
SV: He's an experienced guy. He's been in the league a long time. He's a very skilled guy. He has a good shot. It's nice to have him on the team for sure.