Here's another update from Sport-Express reporter Slava Malamud, who spoke with Caps goalie Semyon Varlamov after last night's game:
It's quite unusual to see Semyon Varlamov downcast. Normally, he is one of the most affable people in the room. But getting two injuries in a row that knock one out of the game for more than a month and put Olympic dreams in danger will depress even the most cheerful. Varlamov started skating last week but has since stopped doing so, fueling rumors of a setback and possibly a reaggravation of his latest injury, a sprained right knee.
"I will not skate for another two or three days and then we will see," Varlamov said. "I skated two days ago and the pain returned in the same place."
Was it when you were trying to make saves or when just skating?
"No, just skating. I skated for four days before the pain returned. It is the same thing [that was injured], nothing new. So, there won't be any skating for me Wednesday or Thursday."
Are you planning to start skating Friday?
"I want to make sure first that the knee is completely healed. I don't want to feel anything there. Then I will start practicing in earnest."
Beginning from the time you start skating, how long will it take to be game-ready?
"About four days to a week."
This means you don't have too much wiggle room before the Olympics start.
"Yes, it does. The Russian coaches have called me [Monday]. I also got a call from [legendary Soviet goaltender and head of the Russian hockey federation Vladislav] Tretiak. The Russian team doctor called too. They all told me not to rush things, that there is still a little bit of time, that it's better to be patient than to go out too soon and get injured again, maybe with additional complications."
Are you beginning to get worried that you might miss the Games?
"Of course, it's an unpleasant feeling. But I am trying to think more about my return and the club's business... But of course I am holding the Olympics in the back of my mind. It's getting closer every day."
You sound quite frustrated.
"Of course I am. I haven't played [in the NHL] for more than a month. How is this possible for a 21-year-old to get a nagging injury that won't heal? It's not the time in my career when I am supposed to get injury-prone."
So then... You will be back before the end of the season, won't you?
"Yeah, that's a good one. Let's all be optimistic, right?"