Caps Assign Varlamov to Hershey

December 29, 2009 | Ed Frankovic

The Washington Capitals have assigned goaltender Semyon Varlamov (SEHM-yahn var-LA-mohv) to the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League (AHL), vice president and general manager George McPhee announced today.

Varlamov, 21, is a second-year pro who stands 6’2”, 209 pounds. The Samara, Russia, native last saw action for the Capitals on Dec. 7, when he made 26 saves in a 3-0 victory at Tampa Bay, his second shutout of the season. He has missed the  last nine games with a lower-body injury.

Varlamov has played in 16 games this year for the Capitals, posting a 12-1-2 record, with a team-leading 2.21 goals-against average and .924 save percentage. He ranks sixth in the NHL in GAA, seventh in save percentage and first in points percentage. In his last nine games, he is 7-0-2 with a 1.53 GAA and a .945 save percentage, including two shutouts.

Last week, Varlamov was named to the Russian Olympic team for the first time, joining goaltenders Evgeni Nabakov of San Jose and Ilya Brzgalov of Phoenix on the roster. He is the youngest player on the team by two years.

Varlamov, the Capitals first-round choice, 23rd overall in the 2006 Entry Draft, made his NHL debut last season on Dec. 13, 2008, recording a win in his first start, a 2-1 victory at Montreal. In 22 career games, he is 16-1-3 with a 2.25 GAA and .923 save percentage.

COMMENT: Varly needs some work having not played in 3 weeks. He will get some games with Hershey and then be back up, assuming his groin holds up okay. Because he is still on his rookie deal he can be sent to the AHL and back without it having to be called “a conditioning assignment,” which is exactly what this all about. Look for Michal Neuvirth to start in San Jose tomorrow night and if he is good then he will go again against the Kings on Saturday. Given Jose Theodore’s subpar outing last night I don’t think you want to put him in against Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and the rest of the high scoring Sharks.

In other Hershey Bears news, two players from the team have made the AHL Canadian All Star team, Alexandre Giroux and Andrew Gordon. Here is more info courtesy of John Walton, Hershey’s Senior Manager of Communications:

The 2009 Calder Cup Champion HERSHEY BEARS announced today in conjunction with the American Hockey League that left wing Alexandre Giroux and right wing Andrew Gordon have been named to represent HERSHEY on the Canadian AHL All-Star team that will compete in the 2010 Time Warner Cable AHL All-Star Classic in Portland, Maine. The announcement was made today by BEARS President/GM Doug Yingst.

Giroux, who scored 75 goals during the 2008-09 regular season and postseason, has 11 goals and 23 assists so far in 2009-10, ranking him second on the HERSHEY roster in scoring.  Gordon, in 32 games this season, has scored 15 goals and notched 18 assists.  Both players have been recalled by the Washington Capitals this season.  Giroux has played in nine games for the Capitals this year, scoring a goal and adding two assists.  Gordon has played in two games for Washington as well.

The BEARS play in Norfolk Tuesday and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Friday before hosting the Binghamton Senators this Saturday night at 7:00 p.m.  Tickets are on sale now at the GIANT Center box office, or by calling (717) 534-3911.