SOCHI, February 10 (R-Sport) – With Sergei Bobrovski and Semyon Varlamov aboard, Russian Olympic hockey coaches have no concerns between the pipes, former Soviet goaltending great Vladislav Tretiak said Monday.
Vezina trophy holder Bobrovski and Colorado Avalanche goalie Varlamov joined up the Russian team in Sochi on Monday along with 13 other NHL players including superstars Alex Ovechkin and Evgeni Malkin.
"Bobrovski is playing very well. Varlamov is also good," said Tretiak, now head of the country's hockey federation. "The most important thing for us is to take a good goalie. We now have two leading ones and we need to choose which one will start. It's good that we have this choice."
This season, Varlamov is fourth in the NHL with 1,436 saves made in 46 games, while Bobrovski has a 2.52 goals against average and a .918 saving percentage.
On Sunday, coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov raised concerns that team captain Pavel Datsyuk may be replaced if he is not fully fit after missing over a month with a groin injury.
However, Tretiak believes the 35-year-old center feels good and will be ready for his fourth Olympic tournament.
“I asked him about his health and he told me everything is fine. I talked to everybody and they are all ready and in a good mood,” Tretiak said. Tretiak won three Olympic golds and one silver with the Soviet national team in the 1970s and 80s.
Russia's opening game at the Bolshoy Ice Dome is against Slovenia on Thursday.