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Semyon Varlamov’s Russian agent bashes the Washington Capitals

Jun 29, 2011, 9:04 PM EDT

Los Angeles Kings v Washington Capitals Getty Images

It’s rarely safe to assume much about free agency until names are signed on dotted lines, but there’s a strong feeling that young goalie Semyon Varlamov‘s days with the Washington Capitals are numbered. (And those numbers seem like they’ll be in the single digits.)

Earlier today, Joe passed along reports that Varlamov will leave the NHL for the greener, Russian pastures of the KHL.

Again, we warn you not to assume that this situation is set in stone, but logic weighs on the side of a departure. As a restricted free agent in a market with a limited number of goalie openings, Varlamov probably wouldn’t be able to maximize his earning potential if he stayed in the NHL. Much like (much older, unrestricted free agent goalie) Evgeni Nabokov before him, Varlamov can make a lot more money by playing overseas in the KHL.

One would think that Varlamov and his reps would have an “all-business” attitude toward his (soon-to-be-former?) employers, the Washington Capitals. After all, the Caps’ reluctance to give Varlamov the $4 million per year deal he reportedly seeks is pretty reasonable. Despite showing flashes of brilliance, Varlamov struggles with injuries and therefore lacks the kind of track record necessary for a big raise. It’s my gut instinct that he’s a bit better than Michal Neuvirth, but the Capitals’ other top option in net will only make $1.15 million per year for the next two seasons. It would take a phenomenal sales job to convince the Capitals that Varlamov is almost $3 million better than Neuvirth.

Yet even in the seemingly dry, bottom line-based world of contract negotiations, it’s important to note that things can get emotional. (Even when it’s not as obvious as a brow-beaten player breaking down in tears during a salary arbitration hearing.) CSNWashington.com shares Varlamov’s Russian agent Vyacheslav Makhrenskiy’s criticisms of the Capitals, originally passed along by Puck Daddy’s Dmitry Chesnokov.

On the training staff:

“Actually, there are problems with medical care in Washington. Doctors in Russia are better. It happened when the Capitals’ doctor says ‘Everything is alright, let him play.’  Semyon feels that his knee is still hurting. But he goes out to play, and then he’s injured again. And the injury is not that serious, but he couldn’t play again.”

On the contract negotiations:

“The Capitals were getting ready for the new negotiations. But they didn’t expect that Semyon could pick Russia. Washington management thought that they were in charge of the situation. But it turned out not to be the case.”

Sometimes messages get a little muffled with agents, especially in the case of Varlamov and other European players who might have one for NHL negotiations and another for overseas deals. It’s important to note that Varlamov’s departure is far from official; we’ll find out how credible these (seemingly justifiable) rumors are sometime after free agency begins at noon on Friday.

That being said, if he’s done with Washington, future reunions could be frostier than winter days in Russia (which Varlamov will seemingly need to become re-acquainted with).

  1. sknut - Jun 29, 2011 at 10:11 PM

    If what the agent said was accurate, its never a good idea to bash your current employer when other teams will think twice due to agent interference especially when the agent and player have an inflated sense of what the player is actually worth.

  2. goforthanddie - Jun 29, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    “But they didn’t expect that Semyon could pick Russia. Washington management thought that they were in charge of the situation. But it turned out not to be the case.”

    The NHL isn’t the NBA, teams realize there are other options besides the NHL. ESPECIALLY if the player in question is European.
    I know nothing of Varlamov, but his agent is an idiot.

    • watermelon1 - Jun 30, 2011 at 1:13 PM

      The majority of NBA players can make more money overseas. Your analogy makes you look like an idiot.

  3. hockeymom4ever - Jun 30, 2011 at 5:31 PM

    Wow, Varly’s agent suffers from foot in mouth syndrome. He really believes the medical care in Russia is better than in the US? He has some serious problems then. When you go to a hospital in Russia you have to bring your own medicine! Maybe Varly should also look for a new agent as well as a new team.
    He is my son’s favorite goalie, aside from Olie, but he is always injured and that has nothing to do with the doctors in the US!

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