Alexander Semin's return to Washington D.C. Tuesday caused quite a stir.
Semin was an enigmatic performer during his tenure with the the Washington Capitals, demonstrating world-class offensive ability and the magical ability to disappear for weeks on end.
“Some nights you didn’t even know if he was gonna come to the rink,” Capitals forward Troy Brouwer observed during a radio interview this week. “It’s tough to play alongside guys like those because you don’t know what you’re gonna get out of ‘em.”
So far Semin has been a solid citizen for the Carolina Hurricanes, who tethered him on the short leash of a one-year, $7 million contract. He has scored 14 points in his first 17 games.
Should Semin play well all season, he could get a multi-year contract to stick in the NHL. If he vanishes again, his next stop will be the KHL – which is far more forgiving of intermittent effort.
Semin plays with center Eric Staal on Carolina’s top line. Staal defended his linemate in the wake of Brouwer’s comments.
“You don't like to see that,” Staal told the Raleigh News & Observer. “Alex has been a great teammate to all of us here. We have his back and you look forward to the game tonight. Regardless of what happens you're going to compete your hardest for him and I'm sure he will, as well.”
Hurricanes defenseman Joe Corvo played with Semin in Washington, but didn’t get to really know him until their reunion in Carolina.
“He's a guy if you don't approach him he's not going to come talk to you -- he's not like a super-open guy,” Corvo told the newspaper. “But we've got some guys who've joked with him and he's opened up. He's a great guy, I enjoy playing with him and he's super smart on the ice.”