By Brian Metzer
Today started like many other days in the Metzer household. My alarm went off at 6:15am; I hit snooze seven or eight times before finally getting up and then dragged my wary bones to the shower.
I tend to have 93.7 the Fan’s morning show blaring as I get ready and I don’t know why, since it usually leaves me barking at the radio and complaining about the fact that one of more of the hosts shouldn’t be talking hockey – one of them in particular, but that is a story for another day.
Today’s soup du jour was soon to be former Capitals’ forward Alex Semin.
The zany crew spent quite a bit of time pontificating about the fact that the Penguins should consider Alex Semin as a fall back if they were unable to land Zach Parise, who joins Ryan Suter as two of the biggest fish in the free agency sea.
The thinking was that Semin, who once scored 40 goals and twice scored 30, would be a good fit on Sidney Crosby’s wing. Clearly the host wasn’t privy to the fact that the Semin and Crosby aren’t exactly buds. There also seemed to be a sentiment that most in town were only opposed to Semin because he was a Capitals product.
Let me be the first to tell you that being a Capital has nothing to do with it, as the issues with Semin go far deeper than the logo on his chest.
Semin, who has long been looked at as a player with huge skill, but little desire, has a bad habit of disappearing on the largest stages. He has just 15 goals in 51 playoff games, all the while accumulating roughly one penalty for every two games played.
Some have hyped him as a power play savior for the Penguins. Sadly, that won’t work either. Yes he has one of the deadliest wrist shots in the game, but he just doesn’t connect with it the way he did a couple seasons back. In fact his power play goals have dipped in each season since 06’-07’ scoring 17, 10, 8, 8, 6 and ultimately 2 last season.
He was also a non-factor in the Russia’s disappointing showing at the 2010 Winter Olympics, unless you count the fact that he was unceremoniously slew footed by Dan Boyle for an earlier cheap shot.
Cameras captured his unwillingness to get back on defense on multiple occasions during Canada’s dominant 7-3 victory. For all intents and purposes, he quit on his team that day like he has been accused of doing multiple times on the Capitals.
Semin has drawn the ire of coaches and teammates over the years and it finally boiled over last season for then head coach Bruce Boudreau, as he benched him and made him a healthy scratch in November.
“He was taking penalties seven games in a row. At some point you have to be accountable for your errors. I don’t like doing those things to people that are that talented, but everybody’s got to know that everybody’s accountable,” Boudreau told the Washington Times.
You may also remember the fact that former teammate Matt Bradley absolutely tore him to shreds in a radio interview last summer.
“I don’t mind saying Alexander Semin’s name because he’s one guy who has so much talent, he could easily be the best player in the league, and for whatever reason just doesn’t care,” said Bradley to Team 1200 in Ottawa last August. “When you’ve got a guy like that you need him to be your best player, or one of your best players, and when he doesn’t show up, you almost get the sense that he wants to be back in Russia. That’s tough to win when you’ve got a guy like that who’s supposed to be your best player not being your best player. Or one of your best players.”
It is worth noting that Bradley later issued an apology, but the words had already been said and he publicly stated what we were all thinking. It is also worth noting that Semin showed some signs of life under the tutelage of Dale Hunter last season.
Semin, who scored just 21 goals last season, showed a bit more interest in the defensive side of the game under Hunter and is seemingly willing to expand on that with his new team, whoever that may be.
That very well may be the case, but any prospective employer would be taking a huge risk, especially when you consider that he has made $6 million and $6.7 million over the past two seasons (he’s produced 54 points in each). Sure you might be able to get him to take a reduced rate, but it is doubtful that a player who possesses such self perceived upside would take much less.
When you consider his prior reputation, his work with the Capitals/Team Russia, and his likely contract demands, he quickly becomes a bad fit for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
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The plan for the rest of the week and heading into free agency shakes out as such: We will have our Draft Day 2 recap coming… it has sat in stages of incomplete since the event! Sorry for the delay… look for it soon. We will have additional pieces such as this one breaking down some of the names of interest that are surfacing in regard to the Penguins as well as thoughts and analysis on all that actually happens.