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Varlamov starts for Russia vs. Slovenia

Feb 13, 2014, 1:55 AM EDT

Semyon Varlamov AP

Russia had quite the debate over who to start in goal for their opening game of the Olympics and they’ve made their choice.

Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov will get the call to start against Slovenia on Thursday (7:30 a.m. ET on MSNBC). Varlamov gets the nod over Columbus Blue Jackets goalie and 2013 Vezina Trophy winner Sergei  Bobrovsky who will back him up.

Varlamov enters the Olympics with a bit more experience than Bobrovsky in international competition. The Avs starter has played in three out of four of the past World Championships and was a member of the 2010 Russian Olympic team.

Bobrovsky, on the other hand, last competed for Russia at the 2008 World Junior Championships. Both goalies are having strong seasons in the NHL and it was a virtual toss-up as to who started.

Varlamov struggled at Worlds last year, but his play this season with the Avs has shown him to be one of the better goalie in the NHL.

  1. mackattack29 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:06 AM

    YES! Varly all the way. He is my prediction for tournament mvp. If russia wins gold it will be because of varlamov.

    • charlieconway96 - Feb 13, 2014 at 2:23 AM

      If they were to win you could also make the argument that those guys Datsyuk and Ovechkin had a hand in it. Oh, maybe that Malkin guy too (maybe).

      • adlent - Feb 13, 2014 at 8:03 AM

        I’m thinking he means because there will be no backcheck, poor defense on the roster and “questions” in the net. It will take Varly playing nearly flawless for a Russian gold.

        They have all the offensive firepower you could want on the roster, but the play in their own zone will determine if they can medal.

  2. patshal - Feb 13, 2014 at 6:36 AM

    They made the right choice going with Varlamov.

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