Here's the first update of the season from Slava Malamud of Sport-Express:
How frustrating is it to be Semyon Varlamov right about now? For those of you keeping score at home (and that would probably be all of you), this makes it three injuries in less than a year. Or four in the last 20 months. Or five, going back to the world championships in 2008. That's a lot of down time for a 22-year-old netminder.
The kid came to Washington a month in advance specifically because he wanted to condition his body better for the wear and tear of the NHL regular season and he gets sidelined before the season even starts. Frustrating? Try devastating.
But I found Semyon surprisingly upbeat when we talked several hours after the Tuesday practice, though he did admit that injuries as a topic of conversation is getting rather old for him now.
"Everything is fine with me now," Varlamov said. Wednesday "I will be the backup. And then, we'll see. If they want me to play, I will play, because I am ready. I was through full practices and it all feels alright."
Was this latest time off the ice hard on you?
These things happen. I was practicing and felt a slight discomfort. Had to take some time to recover. Of course, it's not pleasant to get hurt right before the season, but it wasn't anything serious.
Nothing like last year?
No. I've been practicing for a week now. I just needed to get back to 100 percent so I would be game ready.
Was it the same groin muscle you hurt before?
I don't know. It's not like I know every muscle in my groin by name or anything. I can tell you this was nothing special. But a short pause was needed.
Michal Neuvirth was quite good in the games he played. Do you feel any added pressure to prove yourself now?
You always have to prove yourself, right? This doesn't change anything. I feel great, my mood is good as always. Life is beautiful.
Have you tried to get a professional opinion on why you get so many injuries? Maybe you need to change your workload somehow?
My team employs the best specialists possible, so their opinion is all I need.
Are you one hundred percent game ready now?
Yes, one hundred percent. I am hoping to get a start this week. Perhaps in the upcoming road game, but it's up to the coaches, of course.
Can you assure the fans that they will see the same Varlamov whom they've gotten accustomed to in the last couple of seasons?
I can assure them that they will see me soon. And that I will try my best.