Originally written on Blog On Draft  |  Last updated 7/27/12

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 21: Forward Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals waits for a face off against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 21, 2010 at Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)



Mercurial winger Alexander Semin has signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Carolina Hurricanes for next season.  This is an odd choice considering Semin's scoring success against the Hurricanes.  Without multiple hat tricks against Cam Ward this season, Semin may not even reach 20 goals.  Then again, Semin's an odd guy and he still managed to get a raise over what he made in DC last year.

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Considering the Hurricanes' talent level, it is likely Semin will skate on the top line with Eric Staal, giving the Hurricanes the equivalent of Marc Staal kryptonite; Eric gave his younger brother a concussion and Semin has never lost a fight to Marc.

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Even if Semin plays on the second line, centered by Jordan Staal, he'll be part of an entertaining combination.  It is likely both Jordan Staal and Semin think Sidney Crosby is overrated and didn't want to be an afterthought in Pittsburgh, as evidenced by both players spurning the Penguins this off-season.

A lot of people claim they do not understand Semin, but I wonder if they really tried if they didn't even bother to pronounce his name properly (it's actually "Syomin." The Russian letter ё in Сёмин is pronounced "yo," as in, "I'm Skyler White, yo!").  Many Capitals fans and league observers have questioned Semin's desire and commitment to the team throughout his career.  It will certainly be interesting to see what people think of him Raleigh.  One thing that has never been in question is his talent, as his shooting ability and stickhandling skills are tremendous, plus he is an underrated playmaker. He certainly had his share of injury problems, many of which he played through with very mixed results.

Many fans saw laziness, but I saw frustration.  While most hockey players are the classic jock personality (like Alexander Ovechkin), Alex Semin is an artist.  He does not think in straight lines.  He is a master of the takeaway and always wants the puck (which leads to offensive zone tripping penalties when he misses), he prefers making a pretty play over a simple play, and he is certainly very capable of being a good two-way player when he's concentrating.  Semin's lack of output stems from the Capitals not having a regular second-line center for him to play with for most of his time here.  When the Capitals had even a decent center in Sergei Fedorov or Brendan Morrison, he was an 80-point player (79 and 84).  Without that center, and without the powerplay production he had in 2006-07, he dipped to 54 points in each of the last two seasons.


это место принято? (Photo by RMNB)

In short, Good Sasha is a very skilled, passionate hockey player who wants to score goals and win games in a beautiful way.  Bad Sasha is the frustrated hockey player who tries to do too much and gets himself in trouble with penalties and giveaways.  In any event, he was a highly entertaining hockey player for so many reasons and I'm sure that will continue next season in Carolina.  Perhaps he may even return to Washington next summer...

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