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Alex Semin is working hard but lacking results

Nov 8, 2011, 4:24 PM EDT

Alex Semin AP

Washington Capitals forward Alex Semin had plenty to prove coming into the new season. Much of it to former teammate Matt Bradley.

Bradley, now with Florida, ripped into the 27-year-old Russian over the summer, saying Semin is “one guy who has so much talent, he could easily be the best player in the league, and just for whatever reason, just doesn’t care.”

Bradley has since apologized for his comments, but let’s face it, he meant what he said. It’s not like he’s the only one who’s voiced that opinion. He just did it in public.

Semin’s slow start to 2011-12 isn’t helping his case. In 12 games, he has just two goals and five assists.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, however, is sticking up for his much-maligned player.

“He’s working harder,” Boudreau said, as reported by CSNWashington.com. “He’s more committed to doing what he’s supposed to be doing. You don’t see the real big lapses where he’s staying out on the ice for long periods of time.”

Semin’s lack of production has flown somewhat under the radar in DC with other stories like the Caps’ seven-game winning streak to kick off the season and Alex Ovechkin blatantly swearing at his coach receiving most of the attention.

But it’s no secret that Semin is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. And with the Capitals no longer struggling to score like they did in 2010-11 when they were learning how to play defense, you have to wonder if they’ll really need a player of Semin’s ilk come playoff time. A trade isn’t likely to happen at this point in the year, but it’s a situation worth monitoring leading up to the trade deadline.

I suppose the answer to the question of whether the Caps should consider dealing Semin is…depends if anyone would want him. Also, how badly they’d want him. A $6.7-million cap hit isn’t the easiest thing to move, but it’s not impossible, particularly late in the season when most of the actual salary has been paid out. Detroit and Boston are among the teams that could make room if they had to, assuming they don’t do anything else. If Dallas has a new owner in place and the Stars are still in a playoff position by late February, maybe that’s a destination.

Semin’s talent is undeniable. He had 28 goals last season in 65 games. There would be a market for his services.

  1. stakex - Nov 8, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Well theres one note that needs to be made: It was never clear if Ovechkin actually swore at Boudreau. He clearly swore when he truned around, but mumbling something under your breath is a lot different then swearing in someones face.

    Anyway, Semin is a very lucky guy. For what ever reason, Ovechkin is the one who always gets the grief in Washington, even when hes leading the team. Everyone keeps talking about Ovechkin being off to a slow start while he has six goals and seven assists in 12 games. While not great, thats not bad either. Semin on the other hand has the talent to be just as good as Ovechkin…. yet hes REALLY off to a slow start and no one even notices. The night Ovechkin was “benched”, Semin was also riding the pine at the end of the game. For being Washingtons second best player, hes not putting up the numbers he should be… yet he seems to be getting a pass on it as usual.

    The playoffs are another great example. Year after year Ovechkin is blamed for the Caps early exits from the playoffs…. despite the fact that in the 37 playoffs games hes play in for the Caps he has 25 goals and 25 assists for 50 points. Hell last year he was clearly off his game a bit, and still had 10 points (5 goals, 5 assits) in Washingtons ten games. Semin on the other hand? In the same 37 playoff games he has 12 goals and 18 assists for 30 points. Not horrible numbers really, but hardly great from a talent like Semin. It should also be noted that nearly half of those points come from the 14 games Washington played in the 09 playoffs in which they were eliminated by Pittsburgh. In his other 23 playoff games he only has 16 points. Again not horrible, but just a couple more goals a year in the playoffs from Semin could be what Washington needs to push them over the brink.

    Yet year after year no ones ever talking about Semin taking the playoffs off. Its always Ovechkins fault, or its always Boudreau’s fault. Its never the fault of the guys like Semin who just doesn’t get it done in the playoffs. If Washington thinks the way to win the cup is holding its players accountable for their play…. perhaps they should stop riding the guy leading their team in goal scoring, and start rideing the guy who should be challanging him for that lead, but isn’t.

    • danphipps01 - Nov 9, 2011 at 2:49 AM

      This is actually the first post I’ve seen you write that isn’t slamming Boudreau and downplaying Ovechkin’s shortfalls. And you know what? You’re absolutely right on everything. It’s ridiculous that Semin gets to live in Ovi’s shadow. He’s paid for more than he gives and he slows down come crunch time. Who gets blamed? Either Ovi or Boudreau, both with varying levels of validity but certainly not as much as there is in calling guys like Semin out for being incredibly lazy. The one time someone called him out, it fell on deaf ears all around. It’s ridiculous. He’s being paid like Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. Does anyone actually believe he’s earning that?

  2. dowhatifeellike - Nov 8, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    At least he’s working hard this year? Guy has great hands and skates with the best of them but he just doesn’t have the fire in the belly. I was surprised when they gave him another deal. Boudreau is going with a more result-oriented setup this year and it wouldn’t surprise me if they ship him out.

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