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Pens coach talks up Alex Semin

Jul 10, 2012, 3:38 PM EDT

Alex Semin Getty Images

After failing to sign Zach Parise, the Pittsburgh Penguins have turned their attentions to a couple of other high-profile free agents to fill a top-six role on the wing.

The first, Shane Doan, is no surprise considering every other team in the league seems to be interested in bringing the rugged veteran aboard.

The second, Alex Semin, is more interesting given the opinions many hold about the 28-year-old Russian.

Pens coach Dan Bylsma has his own opinion.

Alexander Semin has scored 40 goals in this league and is a dangerous player,” Bylsma said today, as per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

A report out of Russia has Semin on the verge of signing a one-year deal with the Penguins.

Suffice to say, for a player looking to get his career back on track, skating with the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is a pretty good way to do it.

Related: The search for the elusive Crosby winger continues

  1. dawglb - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    They are assembling quite a collection of vaginas in Pittsburgh. I suppose another won’t hurt.

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:21 PM

      If he scores 40 to 45 goals I could care less how much he backchecks.

      • sheckyrimshot - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:41 PM

        ah yes the old alexei kovalev gambit

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 10, 2012 at 8:30 PM

        What exactly is the “alexei Kovalev gambit”? The guy won a stanley cup with New York and played on one decent pittsburgh team during a brief three year stint in 00-01 when lemieux came back from retirement and jagr had yet to be traded to washington.

        Last year he was simply over the hill with no Sid or Geno. Put him on any one of the mid 90’s teams, 09-10, or 10-11 with a healthy Crosby and malkin and he’s have multiple cups.

      • sheckyrimshot - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:31 PM

        you kind of just answered your own jeopardy question

        If he scores 40 to 45 goals I could care less how much he backchecks.

        What is the “Alexei Kovalev gambit”?

      • sheckyrimshot - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:39 PM

        i’m not saying the dude wasn’t undeniably talented.

        but he scored 428 goals and is a career -30…

    • hockeyfan1701 - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:31 PM

      As always nothing but intelligent well thought out conversation from the Penguins haters…..

    • hockeyfan28 - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:23 PM

      I think the flyers and rangers front offices just smiled

    • handsofsweed - Jul 11, 2012 at 4:00 PM

      Wow, so when did you and your entire extended family move to Pittsburgh?

    • steelernation1 - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      vaginas..what are u a pin head?they have 3 of the best players in the league and you say vaginas?what r u a caps or philly fan?or maybe you have no clue about hockey in general.

  2. jimw81 - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Semin is a lime of a loser has it comes.

  3. capsfan19 - Jul 10, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Nooooooooo!!!! Ugh……….. Great. Either crosby or malkin setting him up? Great….. Just freaking great

    • napoleonblownapart6887 - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM

      Semin’s got the talent – no question there. If he were to sign and succeed though, it would require a Yeoman’s effort from Bylsma to keep him motivated and in check.

      I’m not as down on the move as some other Pens fans are – for a short term deal I think its worht the experience.

      • jobotjones - Jul 11, 2012 at 8:40 AM

        Honestly I feel like Malkin will keep him in line. He wont like Malkin when he is angry.

  4. pens919209 - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:00 PM

    If Semin ends up in Pittsburgh, I hope he remembers to bring his interest in hockey with him.

    • ravenscaps48 - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:26 PM

      He didn’t have it in Washington, so he can’t bring anything to Pittsburgh with him… Except for his whiffle ball hockey sticks and his wonderful playoff magic act…. Have fun watching that mess

      • steelernation1 - Jul 12, 2012 at 5:55 PM

        i dont blame him for not having it in the caps…look who he had to play of the NHL’s biggest flopps Ovi..bring him to the pens and i will bet anything that he will have a great year..and all the haters will shut up..i am not a fan of him but putting him on a line with neal malkin/crosby kunitz is gonna be a masacre for other teams.the other teams will not know which players to put on the ice..the Pens are gonan be beasts this year

  5. sjsharks66 - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:04 PM

    I love how everyone talks down semin. Amazing player and if he plays next to Crosby and Dupuis that line is going to be amazing.

    • ravenscaps48 - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      He played next to Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom…. Your argument is invalid

      • steeltownpride87 - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:01 PM

        Like sjssharks said . Its an upgrade . Ovechkin had cpl good seasons . But has been in decline for a couple of years now .

      • ct14flyers - Jul 10, 2012 at 7:03 PM

        He played around 9% of his shifts last year with those two. He often was with Mathieu Perrault and Jason Chimera. Everyone has to chill. The guy can shoot the puck better than just about anyone. He is an exceptional skater. If he was American or Canadian no one would have a probably with him. Now he’s just like Zherdev and Radulov to everyone. Sasha would score at least 35 with Sid if he goes there.

      • basedrum777 - Jul 10, 2012 at 8:05 PM

        I don’t disagree that he showed little in the way of effort that I’d want in a top 6 forward BUT I will also chime in that the two players/lines you compared are completely different. Crosby might score a lot but he’s a pass first centerman who has the vision of any great passer to ever come along. Even if I wasn’t going to make the comment about Crosby being a much better player than Ovi you would have to acknowledge that their styles in terms of shooting and passing is very different.

      • jpelle82 - Jul 11, 2012 at 8:58 AM

        glad someone mentioned his shot. my biggest complaint with semin (and as a pens fan watching caps games for years living in NOVA) is that he takes reckless shots. he is unaware of the situation he is in most of the time. people dont realize when he tries to shoot for the corner every time and misses, hits the glass high, its basically a clearing attempt for the other team. he does it all the time. rather than shoot to the pads and get a rebound, or be aware he is on a pp and cant afford to miss high, he goes for the pretty goal every time – looks for the corner from a wide angle. toe drag to the circle, miss high far side – puck leaves the zone. kills me. hopefully someone can teach him some awareness or how to shoot for rebounds.

      • krizman18 - Jul 15, 2012 at 12:39 AM

        The argument is valid because Crosby and Malkin actually dish the puck..

  6. Tyler - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    Pens fan here. I’m not thrilled by the idea of Semin to Pittsburgh, but I wont deny he’s an amazing talent. It just depends how much, if any, of that talent will show up every night.

  7. lostpuppysyndrome - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    At least it’s better than NashWatch 2012…

  8. relicwingnut - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    This kid doesn’t care about hockey. With out doing a back ground check I bet he was a poor kid in Russia, and now he is in the states making millions. Don’t get me wrong I do love me some Eruo hockey players but Alex doesn’t care about the Stanley Cup. He just wants money. If he did care he wouldn’t be toying with the idea of the KHL. I’d take Doan over him any day.

  9. sjsharks66 - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    I read to sign him it’s 1 year 2 mil. Worth the risk. If he fails then let him go to the KHL.

  10. capesouth - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:42 PM

    A one year deal is worth it for the Pens if he is the last option they want to pursue. One year deals can kind of suck as far as team building goes..I imagine they would like to have a longer term solution to their line up but I think at this point Semin has nothing but upside for the Pens. He’ll put up strong numbers with them. Everyone is hating on him so much (and rightfully so) I find myself kind of rooting for him.

    • dhawks19 - Jul 11, 2012 at 1:09 AM

      The penguins should give him a 1 year deal if he sucks then they won’t resign him and since its a 1 year deal they didnt commit to him at all if he does well they’ll resign him and he’ll be a top winger 4 them

      • yinzgotsix - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:34 PM

        If Mcphee let him walk why would Shero want him? It’s funny how after years of badmouthing Semin all pens fans would love to have him.

  11. dannythebisforbeast - Jul 10, 2012 at 4:50 PM

    Everyone knows Crosby talks up semen but Bylsma too? What a locker room

    • mathieug79 - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

      What crosby takes up seamans? bylsma too? the chemestry might be greater than we think. I think for 4M 1 year, I’ll take that risk any day!. WHO WILL SIGN KOSTITSYN IS THE QUESTION??? LOL

  12. papamcgin - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:00 PM

    What’s the worst that could happen on a one year deal? They lose in the first round? Sign him.

  13. northstars17 - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:23 PM

    how the HELL can they afford all these top guys? Crosby, Malkin, Fluery, and now possibly Semin? geez

    no wonder they went bankrupt 2x…

    • hockeyfan1701 - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM

      Hey “northstart17” maybe you can learn about modern Hockey and the thing called a salary cap. It is this thing where every team has a payroll max…….

    • handsofsweed - Jul 11, 2012 at 4:07 PM

      It’s been 21 years sinced that giant, rusty dent was kicked into your a$$ by Lemieux and Co. in the SCF. It’s time to let it go and accept that loss.

  14. shaffer66 - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Bankrupt 2x!! Yea that happend but they are 10million under the cap and sellout every night. U cant get a ticket in the city unless off ebay or ticketexchange. Just bcauase your jealous of our talent dont down our team. They are more financially stable than ever. You dont know what ur talkin about. Sign semin get it done lets see what hes got. Maybe getting outa washington will change him, who knows a short term deal cant hurt.

    • yinzgotsix - Jul 13, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      They only got that talent because they tanked seasons during the rough times, remember when they couldn’t even give tickets away? Before Fleury they were a bigger joke than the Pirates. In 2005 the NHL rigged the lottery and gave the pens Cindy who would be the savior for Mario. I was surprised they didn’t let them have the first overall in 04 to take Ovi. Nevertheless it all worked out, pens fans started going to games again because they were winning. Pissburgh fans will always stand behind their team unless they are losing, I’ve seen it firsthand

  15. sjsharks66 - Jul 10, 2012 at 5:47 PM


    Yeah he played next to them. But are one of those people Crosby? Ovi is selfish with the puck. Crosby will pass it and make you score. Just look at what he did to Matt Cookes numbers during the short time he was on a line with him.

    I’m not sure if you know this but Matt Cooke is not even close to how good Semin is.

    • yinzgotsix - Jul 13, 2012 at 11:21 PM

      The only time OVI and semin played together was on the PP clown, You can talk about Cindy all you want but I’ll keep Backstrom. When OVI has the puck there’s always that chance he’ll score so he can be selfish and make people like you hold your breath till the pucks off his stick or in the back of the net. I’m not sure if you know this but nobody outside of the pens want to play beside that little girl who wears #87.

  16. steeltownpride87 - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:05 PM

    Risk/reward . If he sucks then you get rid of him at the end of the season . If he plays well give him a multi-year deal . Neal/Crosby with Malkin/Semin . Christmas is coming early to the Burgh .

  17. dtob79 - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    If it’s a 1 year deal, what’s the risk? Maybe playing with Crosby will flip the switch for him. And they still have the pieces to get involved in talks for Ryan, Nash, etc. Absolutely a no-risk move with a very high potential reward.

  18. caps247 - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:24 PM

    Ha, If you’re a die hard Caps fan then you know that Pierre McGuire, Mike Milbury, and most of the NBC crew tend to trash the Capitals every single time a Caps game airs on channel 4. They even called Semin a “coach killer”, a “divisive force in the locker room”, and a “loser”. Given that these guys almost always seem to root for the Penguins, I wonder if their attitude could towards him could change just like that, especially if he starts producing. We shall see if Semin can change his attitude in Pittsburgh. After all, even after 7 full seasons with the Caps he couldn’t be tamed. Here’s a tip though: If you don’t give him the amount of ice time he wants (even for a single game), he will crumple the sheet of paper displaying ice time and chuck it around the locker room and mumble to himself. (I remember he even got a goal and assist that night, and he still raged like he barely got any ice time or had done nothing)

    • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 10, 2012 at 8:21 PM

      Riiiiiiiiiiiiight, because it couldn’t be that Boudreau was such a bipolar nutjob that for all his hockey knowledge, he couldn’t have maintained a locker room with even the 1980’s oilers.

      Or that Ovechkin, with all his lethal skill, has become so predictable that those that follow him also think that they don’t need to evolve their game either.

      But, suuuuurrre the reason for washington’s demise is completely Alexander Semin. Uh Huh. Yep…….totally it.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 11, 2012 at 4:39 PM

        Maguire worked as an assistant coach and scout on the Penguins teams that won back to back cups in 91 and 92, obviously having two Stanley cup rings from an organization will make you a little biased, but he needs to fight that and be a little more objective when dealing with stuff involving the Penguins. During the World Junior tournament he’s almost too over the top with being impartial, every player on every team is a special player who’s NHL team has to be “over the moon” with what they’ve gotten themselves. Being somewhere in between these two things would be perfect.

        As far as the “next Gretzky” thing I understand that tsn wants to market that but they’re doing the players a huge injustice by doing so, take Crosby for example, he is a great player, probably the best in the game (when healthy) BUT he’s not the next Gretzky, there will never be another Gretzky, so just let him be Sidney Crosby. In fact it went so far that in December 2010 I heard a national commentator trying to say that the season Crosby had put up to that point was more impressive than the year Gretzky got 219 points…it’s comparisons like that one that are so outlandish that it makes some people dislike Crosby. Just market him as a great player in today’s game, don’t force him as one of the all-time greats before he’s earned it.

    • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 10, 2012 at 8:34 PM

      Pierre Maguire is horrible his love of the Penguins is absolutely brutal, no matter what they do it’s a sign of them “reloading” (Michalek and Martin signings) or “scary to everyone else in the Eastern conference” (trading Staal for Sutter) and a sign that they’ll win many cups, of course they’ve won none since he’s made his Martin Michalek proclamation.

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:08 PM

        Sooooo… couldn’t be that Pierre Maguire is simply a bald blowhard who saw a lightning rod issue that he could comment on to get people talking no matter whether they are haters or not.

        Yeeaaaaa it’s totally a conspiracy by the league to only promote the penguins. WAKE UP, the league is just as happy with the people that hate the pens as with the fans that support them because no matter what people are paying attention.

      • atwatercrushesokoye - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:53 PM

        If you’re talking to me, I don’t think there’s some conspiracy by the NHL instead I think it’s a bald a-hole who used to work with the Penguins and can’t see a fault in anything they do. And tsn loves to promote the Penguins because they have a desperate need to find the next Gretzky, and they’re convinced that it’ll be Crosby despite the fact that there will never be another Gretzky! Particularly from a player who’s led the league in points ONCE in his 7 year career.

        TSN has already been doing stories on the “next Crosby” hopefully he can achieve more than one scoring title and one Rocket Richard trophy in his career!

      • ucaneverscorenoughgoals - Jul 10, 2012 at 11:40 PM

        When did Pierre Maguire ever work for the penguins?

        And of course they’re not going to find the next Gretzky. It’s the same as trying to find another Orr or Lemieux.

        The NHL simply wants a focal point. They don’t care who it is. Just one guy to be the face of the league. It could have been Ovi. In fact when he won back to back MVP’s many thought it would be. But, Ovi hasn’t evolved, he still thinks he doesn’t have round out his game any more than it was four years ago AND when he is not reckless while it’s safer for the rest of the league, he’s not as effective of a player.

      • jpelle82 - Jul 11, 2012 at 9:27 AM

        yea, he proved his bias during the playoffs series against the flyers. he had a boner for the little boys on the flyers that whole series, every other word out of his mouth was schenn or couterier

  19. ct14flyers - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    For all those Semin haters read this.

    • bethgoesglobal - Jul 11, 2012 at 4:35 AM

      This article is very very good. Looks at the numbers- concise, but also draws from the thoughts of analysts, players, and GM’s. A really good read for anyone interested/intrigued by Semin

  20. GenoPringles - Jul 10, 2012 at 6:45 PM

    I hope they sign this Russian Assasian. Him and Geno would spend a fortune on morning after pills. Every woman in Pittsburgh would help welcome him town. Please sign him so I can have another t-shirt with Semin on it

    • dannythebisforbeast - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:10 PM

      Geno pretty sure most of your t-shirts have Semin all over them

  21. bethgoesglobal - Jul 10, 2012 at 7:13 PM

    Don’t do it Sasha!! Please!!!!
    Where are the Red Wings?!?!
    Although I’d rather see him play than not

  22. ironcity6pak - Jul 10, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    First off this a rumor said here and possibly heard from a Russian source that I can’t seem to find anywhere. Didn’t we learn not to trust the Russians. Lol all kidding a side, semin is a good hockey player and hope he really want to get back to his game instead of complaining and bringing everyone else down. That said, if he is willing to sit back and learn I would love for him to play with the pens. Would be a dangerous line.

  23. stakex - Jul 10, 2012 at 8:46 PM

    Everyone is so down on Semin, and perhaps theres some good reason for that.

    However, the guy has far more raw talent then the likes of Rick Nash, who is all the rage this year. Yes he has some issues with motivation, and interest… but playing with Crosby the sky is the limit when it comes to his potential. Semin could be a 50 goal scorer in Pittsburgh.

    Its a risk no doubt, but considering that Semins contract isn’t likely to be that high, or that long… its a risk worth taking.

  24. hockeyfan28 - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Well the Crosby likes Semin signs will be out in Philly…not that there’s anything wrong with that.

  25. flyeredup - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:27 PM

    Ovechkin loves the taste of Semin. The Average 8 will miss you.

  26. capsfan19 - Jul 10, 2012 at 10:22 PM

    Ovi isnt in a playmaker role… Thats where backstrom comes in……..
    Honestly if i was the pens organization id take him in a hearbeat. Here’s a guy who can score rediculous goals, goals that make virgins pregnant, and is definitely hungry for change. Im beginning to think its not that he doesnt care but he just doesnt feel comfortable on the caps.
    Him on a line with malkin, talking crazy russian to each other, would be frightening.
    You people can hate him all you want but he has made almost all the top tier goalies in the east look like they play in 40 year old beer leagues!! He’s probably the reason tim thomas went all crazy political and lundy so snazzy. Theyre covering up their scares people! From getting owned!!

  27. phillyfan97 - Jul 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM

    He still hasn’t signed with Pittsburgh, Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight…

  28. jrsaffell - Jul 11, 2012 at 4:40 PM

    I’d like to see him with Grabovski and Kulemin in Toronto. Kulemin does enough back checking for 3 players anyway and he’d be on the second line so the spotlight wouldn’t be burning him. He’s gotta be better than Clarke MacArthur.

  29. yinzgotsix - Jul 13, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    I bet you would love the great 8 in your hideous sweater flyeredup. If he’s average can you please tell me who’s above average? Don’t emberass yourself claiming Giroux has more talent. I put him in the same category as Cindy when it comes to physicality. Like it or not other players fear OVI not only as a goal scorer but as someone who can make you bleed internally with a single hit.

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