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What to Call Varlamov?

Hockey player. Syoma. (By John McDonnell - TWP)

A few minutes ago, a Swedish reporter asked Russian goalie Simeon Varlamov what he thinks about From Russia With Glove, his American-created nicknamed riffed off a British novel.

"Is this my nickname now?" Varlamov said through an interpreter. "Ok, great, fine."

How about Czar-lamov, I asked.

"Nope, haven't heard that one either," he said. "It's all the same to me, guys. Even if I didn't like it and wanted them to change it, they wouldn't do it, right? It's up to them."

Varlamov said Russian fans never gave him a nickname, that it's "not really a Russian hockey culture to make up nicknames for players." He said all of his teammates refer to him as Varly; "not bad," he said in English, about that standard-issue hockey nickname.

As for his actual name, a lot of reporters--including one Pittsburgh TV station whose broadcast I watched--are now pronouncing his last name correctly: Var-LA-mov. Real progress has been made.

"You've got the accent on the last name right, now work on the first name," the rookie requested. That would be SemYON; accent on the end, pozhalysta.

Varlamov's father, meanwhile, calls his son "Senya," which is a diminutive form of Simeon. And did you know that Ovechkin calls Semin "Syoma," a sort of diminutive version of that last name, which should correctly be pronounced "Syomin" and not "Semin," according to Dmitry Chesnokov?

As for what they actually say to the kid, conversationally: not much. Bruce Boudreau has already said that he doesn't talk to Varlamov, and Ovechkin said today that he doesn't, either. So who's actually talking to the goalie?

"Probably Semin, you can ask Semin," Ovechkin said. "But Semin don't talk to you guys, so it's gonna be hard for you to know what's going on."

By Dan Steinberg  |  April 30, 2009; 1:36 PM ET
Categories:  Caps  
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ha ha ha, Ovie's comment about Semin (Syoma? but I thought he was Sasha?) are priceless!

Posted by: RedBirdie | April 30, 2009 1:50 PM | Report abuse

I think Ovie likes to mess with you guys a bit; I doubt he never talks to him, especially considering that Varly was one of the young Russians that stayed at Ovie's house during training camp.

Posted by: CPortisRun | April 30, 2009 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Steinz, you should ask Federov and Semin if they resent all the effort everyone is making to pronounce Varlamov correctly. I guess their names are too entrenched to be changed not (especially Feds) but they both should be pronounced with a "yo" sound for the first vowel (Fyo-derov, Syo-men).

Posted by: Southwester | April 30, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Here are some more suggestions in this poll.

Posted by: mugod | April 30, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

"Him One Sonar Glove"

Now pronounce his full name correctly and tell me it's not a phonetic fit.

You can even just take the last name and "Sonar Glove" stands on its own quite nicely.

Or how about "Our RAW Glove"

"Rock Star Slav"?

If you're not into the whole rhyming thing, there's always "Kid Glove".

Posted by: spectre42 | April 30, 2009 8:51 PM | Report abuse

Why not "Simeon the Saviour"???

Posted by: CapsNut | April 30, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

i prefer "The Iron Curtain"

Posted by: DER27 | April 30, 2009 10:51 PM | Report abuse

Okay no one can take this away from me, I am gonna date it now: Friday, May 1, 2009, 12:39 AM

Why not simply:

Varly and Me?

Posted by: adamvingan | May 1, 2009 12:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm glad my website is now his nickname, this will definitely feature on there later.

Posted by: Sergeio24 | May 1, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Varly's locker-room is in the Chipotle broom closet. That way no one can talk to him.

Posted by: point-by-point | May 1, 2009 7:51 AM | Report abuse

We've come a long way since Locker and Lisa were calling him Valarmov.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | May 1, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Actually Locker called him Varmalov.

Why do players all have to have nicknames anyway? Some of them are sooo contrived.

Ovie as always is good for a sound byte!

Posted by: CapsChick | May 1, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I think this is already done...The players probably call him "Varly"

We started that chant already at VC.

Posted by: SA-Town | May 1, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Kolzig served the franchise with distinction for many a year...

How about "Baby 'Zilla"?

Posted by: Rhino40 | May 1, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

One of my 'You Tubers' had suggested the Iron Curtain for Varly and I agree that it's a great nickname!

Posted by: luvdcaps | May 1, 2009 10:17 AM | Report abuse

I like Tsarlamov (Czarlamov), or Gumby. The Cat, Puma or anything else referring to his slinky-like movement. But Varly is the best, it's his name and it's easy.

Posted by: farmgirl19C | May 1, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

The way the names are pronounced would have really been the most correct way to spell them in English. The rules of transliteration from Cyrillic into different languages are specifically for that. To spell the names in the target language exactly how they're pronounced in Russian (or as close as possible) so that there would be less confusion.

As I've mentioned before the most correct way to spell Varly's name would be Semyon Varlamov and the most correct way to spell Semin's name would be Aleksandr Syomin.

Sasha is not really a nickname. It's just diminutive of Aleksandr, which is like Alex to Alexander in English. Syoma, which is what Ovie calls him, is a nickname derived from the proper pronunciation of his last name, Syomin.

Posted by: ranndino | May 1, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

I dont like From Russia with Glove- it's a sentence, not a nickname! I call him Varly, I'm sure that will stick like Ovie, Brooksie etc

As for an "great 8" type of nickname (that few ever really call you) name- no zilla, Olaf should have his own. Czarlamov is probably the best one I've heard.

Posted by: mrszilla | May 1, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse


The picture is mislabeled. That's "Senya" not "Syoma" who you just indicated was Ovi's nickname for Semin/Aleksandr Syomin/Sasha.


Posted by: LeftCoastCapsFan | May 2, 2009 1:40 AM | Report abuse

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