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Varlamov on losing Avs starting gig: “It’s going to be tough”

Jan 25, 2012, 1:32 PM EDT

Semyon Varlamov AP

The Colorado Avalanche acquired two goalies this offseason: Semyon Varlamov and J.S. Giguere. The former cost the Avs a first- and second-round pick (and $8.5 million); the latter cost them no picks and $2.5 million.

So it was no surprise that, heading into the season, Varlamov was the starter and Giguere the backup.

But heading into the All-Star break, it’s Giguere that’s the No. 1 guy…while Varlamov tries to keep a positive frame of mind.

“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.”

Giguere started making headway back in mid-December. His strong play coincided with the Avs emerging from a funk to climb back into playoff positioning — during one especially strong stretch, Giguere ripped off four straight wins against Washington, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Tampa Bay, allowing just six goals.

Varlamov didn’t help his cause any with a string of poor January performances. There was a 4-1 home loss to Nashville and a 6-1 bombing in Phoenix — two stinkers which, coincidentally, were Varlamov’s only two appearances in the last nine games.

“That’s why I’m not playing right now, I think,” Varlamov said of the lopsided losses. “But it’s a long season. We still have 30 games after the break.”

All told, Giguere has been the goalie of record in 13 of Colorado’s last 19 games. His numbers on the year are outstanding — 2.15 GAA (eighth in the NHL), .921 save percentage — and there’s a good chance head coach Joe Sacco will keep riding him down the stretch (gotta be a better way to say that.)

Despite the fact Giguere’s 34 with plenty of tread on his tires, he was tabbed for back-to-back starts last weekend in Los Angeles in Anaheim, then got the nod again on Tuesday as the Avs lost 3-2 to Minnesota.

  1. elvispocomo - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:45 PM

    I’m betting the Avs would have been much happier to have bucked up and traded for Schneider instead. At least they would have him on a cheap deal this year and Schneids would have had to set his price by playing well enough to earn it. I’m pretty sure the Canucks would have loved their first rounder this year to get Landeskog.

    I’m not sure if other young goalies would have been available (Enroth, Lindback, Bernier, Rask) so they might not have had many options, but for a couple of high draft picks, they could have found a few takers I’m sure – even considering the Canucks are in their division.

    In the end, Varly’s still young and may get better to become the goalie they want. Certainly the team isn’t ready just yet to challenge for the cup, but could be soon enough.

  2. yettyskills - Jan 25, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    As a Wings fan I love seeing this team a mess.
    I lol’ed when they traded so much for so little.

    Being proven correct never gets old

    • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:46 PM

      Hubris…

      • yettyskills - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:07 PM

        It’s only Hubris if Im proven wrong

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 25, 2012 at 3:31 PM

        Not necessarily.

      • yettyskills - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:23 PM

        Im paraphrasing Julius Caesar
        LOL

      • yettyskills - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        You know, when he crossed the Rubicon?

      • 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jan 25, 2012 at 5:03 PM

        Nope, I know nothing about Caesar.

  3. trbowman - Jan 25, 2012 at 2:36 PM

    Glad Giguere is doing well this year. Always liked him.

  4. lsxphotog - Jan 25, 2012 at 4:10 PM

    He’s young, and he’ll take it back. When he’s on, he’s one of the best in the league…but he’s usually off. With more age will come consistency. J.S. is a great mentor for him.

  5. andidee15 - Jan 25, 2012 at 10:15 PM

    Varly’s young and inconsistent and is usually either amazing or horrible without much in between. Recently, he’s been terrible and Jiggy’s playing like a vet. But Varly’s had plenty of great games this year – he’s not a terrible goalie by any stretch, just a very, very streaky one.

    Varlamov’s still the Avs goalie of the future. By the time the rest of the young team is ready to start competing for the Cup, he’ll be ready to go. But right now, the club is trying its hardest to make it into the 8th seed and Jiggy’s the hot hand.

    Varly is doing fine for a 23-year-old goalie. Jiggy’s just outplaying him right now.

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