Six months after his second hip surgery, Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov was moving with the cat-like quickness that won him a franchise-record 41 games in 2013-14. It was just an informal captain’s practice last week at Family Sports Center, but Varlamov was challenging shooters with authority. He was turning away pucks like the “Varly” of old. “I’m feeling good,” Varlamov said after a players-only skate, more than a week before veterans are scheduled to report for training camp. It’s too early to suggest Varlamov will return to the goalie that broke Patrick Roy‘s single-season wins record to lead the Roy-coached Avs to that magical 112-point season. But it’s safe to assume Varlamov won’t have to deal with the groin issues that sidelined him in each of the last three seasons. He was limited to just 24 games last season before going on the long-term injury list. “He looks like he’s in a good mood, and I like Varly in a good mood,” Avs captain Gabe Landeskog said Friday. “You look at 2013-14, a lot of us want to get back to the way we played that year. Varly can get there. We want a healthy Varly, a Varly who can steal games for us. But we know there’s more to it than that. We know we can play good team defense in front of him.” Varlamov’s hip surgeries — one on the right, one on the left, four weeks apart — are expected to eliminate his groin issues. They were performed by Dr. Marc Philippon in Vail at the end of January and the end of February. Varlamov, 29, resumed skating with full pads and taking shots in mid-July. “At the beginning when I started skating, I was pretty uncomfortable. The surgeries were kind of tough; you have to learn again how to skate,” Varlamov said. “But I feel confident about it now. I’m sure all the injuries are behind me and I’m looking forward to have a really good, solid, healthy season. It’s been a tough stretch for me, the last six months. Lots of rehab going on. But I’m blessed to have a really good team — doctors and physical therapists who work with me. They’ve done a tremendous job for me. I feel good on the ice.” During Varlamov’s recovery, the Avs made changes to their coaching staff, and one of them was replacing goaltending expert Francois Allaire with Jussi Parkkila, whom Varlamov worked with in the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia as a teenager. Also, Colorado signed backup goalie Jonathan Bernier to replace Calvin Pickard, who was selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft.
Varlamov confident ‘all the injuries are behind me’ as he returns from surgery
Denver Post | Sep 10