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Semyon Varlamov might just rise to the challenge

Feb 24, 2012, 10:24 PM EDT

varlamovap AP

If Semyon Varlamov‘s goal was to prove that the Colorado Avalanche didn’t over-pay to get him, it’s unlikely that his life has been very pleasant this season.

Ultimately, the Avalanche just want the young netminder to be their go-to guy, which hasn’t happened often enough this season. When Jean-Sebastien Giguere went down with a groin injury, many believed that Colorado’s playoff run would die with it.

As it turns out, the injury instead opened the door for Varlamov to play his best hockey when his team needs it the most.

The athletic Russian goalie shut out the lowly Columbus Blue Jackets on 28 shots in a 5-0 win tonight, giving him a two-game winning streak in which he’s allowed a single goal.

Two games is far from a trend in an 82-game season. In fact, his record remains below .500 at 17-18-2 with pedestrian individual stats. Still, he could redeem himself – and two some extent, Avalanche GM Greg Sherman – if Varlamov can guide the Avs to a playoff berth.

Colorado in the thick of West playoff race

It’s certainly not out of the realm of feasibility, either, as the Avalanche are in a four-way tie for eighth place with 66 points. Sure, they’re technically in last place among that quartet because they’ve played an extra game, but they also are tied with eighth-ranked Dallas with the most wins of the four at 31.

Those details matter, but ultimately it’s all about how they play through April 7. Right now, the Avalanche have to feel a lot better about their situation in net – and the potential redemption of their seemingly failed No. 1 goalie – which probably makes them more optimistic about the postseason as well.

  1. blomfeld - Feb 24, 2012 at 10:41 PM

    I wish “all the best” for this young goalie and the Avalanche. God willing, he will find it in himself to follow in the footsteps of the greatest goaltender ever …

    • govtminion - Feb 24, 2012 at 11:58 PM

      Those are some big shoes to fill (skates?)… never mind that he’s got that big ’33’ banner hanging over his head to remind him of the great goalie that used to own that net in Denver. No pressure, kid.

  2. captaincanuck84 - Feb 25, 2012 at 2:07 AM

    Blomfeld, not sure who you are referring to as “greatest goaltender ever” because one would infer Patrick Roy because of the Colorado ties, but the pic shows tretiak (Russian ties to varlamov) but I have to believe neither are the best ever as I think Martin brodeur has made quite a case for himself being the greatest of all time

    • blomfeld - Feb 25, 2012 at 10:51 AM

      captaincanuck84 – Your name would suggest that either … A) you are Stan Smyl ? … or … B) you are a fan of Stan Smyl ? … whichever the case, all I will say about the “Steamer” is that he genuinely tried hard while wearing the C here and that he probably “meant” well …

      Now with the goaltender business, there is absolutely no doubt that Vladislav Tretiak is the greatest ever ! You mention Roy and Brodeur who were both undeniably excellent during their respective times. The problem with them however, is that they both played during the “Michelin Man” era of goal-tending, which has now become the “Zeppelin Man” era … and therefore both of them must be precluded from any conversation about the “greatest” ever. Goaltenders today are essentially nothing more than 4 x 8 plywood sheets, with their massive and ridiculously “over-sized” equipment. On the other hand, you go back 30-40 years and there you’ll find the real deal ! Goalies like Tretiak had to rely “entirely” upon their skill, intuition, reflexes, bravery and honor … not “Made in China” gloves that are bigger than a bread basket or pads the size of a log boom ! Therefore the only other goalies to be included in any conversation regarding the greatest ever would be the likes of Ken Dryden, Rogie Vachon, Bernie Parent and Tony Esposito … anything else is pure silliness.

      At any rate, you’re likely of a younger bouquet and so the over-sized equipment business may not be a factor in your reasoning ? Allow me therefore to offer you some additional evidence as to why Vladislav Tretiak is by far the greatest goaltender of all time !

      “There is no position in sport as noble as goaltending” – Vladislav Tretiak, former great Russian goaltender

  3. emperorzero - Feb 25, 2012 at 11:14 AM

    Tretiak is the greatest goalie ever. Period. However, let’s not sell Roy short as being the Michelin Man. He started in 1986 years before the “Trevor Kidd Effect” and dominated. Bordeur as the greatest ever? Please – he was the third best goalie of his generation behind Roy and Hasek.

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