The Colorado Avalanche and their coach, Patrick Roy, were not quick to judge goaltender Semyon Varlamov when he was arrested and faced with charges of second-degree kidnapping and third-degree assault after an alleged altercation with his girlfriend on Oct. 28.
And when asked about their former teammate, neither were the Capitals.
Tonight, the Capitals are expected to face Varlamov when they visit the Avalanche at the PepsiCenter in Denver [8 p.m., CSN].
“I think it surprised me as a teammate,” Capitals left wing Jason Chimera said. “He was nothing but nice to me and I had nothing but good things to say about him. As for [the charges against him], I can’t comment on that. But as a teammate he was a good guy, always vey polite and a great guy to have around the locker room.”
Drafted by the Capitals in the first round of the 2006 NHL draft, Varlamov, 25, spent parts of three seasons with the Capitals, going 30-13-12 from 2008-11.
“Great goalie, great teammate, great times,” Capitals goaltender Michal Neuvirth said when asked about Varlamov. “We pushed each other every day. Like I said, a great guy and a great goalie.”
Neuvirth declined to comment on allegations that Varlamov assaulted his girlfriend.
On Oct. 31 Varlamov posted a $5,000 bond and was granted permission by a Denver judge to travel with the Avalanche. That’s when Roy and Avalanche vice president of hockey operations Joe Sakic sat down with Varlamov and asked for his side of the story.
Varlamov told them the accusations were untrue and they allowed him to remain on the team.
Since then Varlamov has started two of the Avalanche’s four games, winning one and losing one. He enters tonight’s game with a 8-2-0 record, a 2.10 goals-against average and .933 save percentage.
"The life of a professional athlete is public,” Varlanov told the Denver Post. “Truth is truth. Lying is lying. Sometimes life puts you in a good situation. Sometimes life puts you in a bad situation. You can't listen to everybody."
Chimera said he can only give an assessment of how Varlamov was as a teammate three seasons ago.
“He was just a competitor,” he said. “One of those guys who never quit on a play. He practices really, really hard. He never gave up on a play and that was a good quality he had.”