Semyon Varlamov was given the chance to make his mark on Russian hockey history by starting in the team’s quarterfinals game against Finland. He had been solid in the 2014 Winter Olympics to that point, but the 25-year-old goaltender allowed three goals on 15 Finnish shots before being pulled.
The Russian defense playing in front of him certainly deserves its fair share of the blame, but it was still a demoralizing end to what had the potential to be a truly special tournament for the Russians.
Now heading back to the Colorado Avalanche, Varlamov will report to the coach who has helped revitalize his career, Patrick Roy. For his part, Roy thinks Varlamov’s rough finish in Sochi might actually help him rise to the occasion.
“I have no doubt in my mind that he’s not happy about the way that he played, and he’s going to look at himself in the mirror — and I think that’s what makes a career,” Roy told the Denver Post.
“It’s not always perfect. That’s the way it was for me anyway. I think that’s going to make him a better hockey player. It’ll prepare him even better for the next time. It’s going to help him in his approach to the games he’s going to play until the end of the year to the playoffs.”
The Avalanche are a serious contender this season, but they will need Varlamov to be at his best once the playoffs start. It will provide him with a nearly immediate opportunity to bounce back, but it could also serve to add to the disappointment going into the summer.