Washington Capitals' most frustrating player

semin.jpgEvery now and then, Pro Hockey Talk will ask for insight from some of the best team bloggers out there. For this feature, we asked a simple question: “Who is your team’s most frustrating player?” Just for fun, I decided to throw my guess in the hat, too.

 

First, here is my guess for the Washington Capitals.

Jose Theodore – I’m sure I could go with Alex Semin, but come on, the guy scored about a billion goals this year. Only Theo could go 0-for-2. The last guy who did it was Ed Belfour, but Beflour was probably hungover. It’s hard to stop two pucks, right?

The Washington Capitals (and the blogger friendliness of Ted Leonsis) helped cultivate some great writers. For their perspective, I asked Becca from the great Japer’s Rink to share her most frustrating player. Make sure to follow her and everyone else at JP, if you somehow haven’t started doing that already.

His nicknames range from The Other Alex to Alex 2.0 to Bongos to … well, a myriad of wholly inappropriate ones we won’t even discuss in this venue. To Caps fans, however, Alexander Semin is most commonly known as Sasha – and he’s probably the most frustrating player we’ve watched here in DC in a long time.

Because it’s never just Sasha. No, his is a name that is always either followed by “what the heck are you doing??” or introduced with “did you see that sick move by”, expletives and forehead-slapping optional after either one.

More on “Sasha” after the jump.


semin2.jpgAlexander Semin is a ridiculously talented player, with a keen ability to slip through defenders, a delicate passing touch, a tricky wrist shot that fools even the best goalies and some of the best hands in hockey. He’s also injury prone, penalty prone and prone to the most ridiculous of mental breaks. There are many who think that Semin is the most talented member of the Caps – and that includes the man with whom he shares a first name – but he is also the most exasperating.

Semin’s offensive skills have never been questioned. He has 37 goals and 39 assists so far this season, a tremendous output for any forward over the course of a year and numbers that put him among the League’s elite. But he’s also only played in 67 games this season and has never played a full campaign without developing some injury or another. Part of what makes him so frustrating is imagining just what those numbers would be if he could play closer to the 82 on the schedule.

And then there are the penalties. It used to be that #28 would simply take penalties all over the place, lazy hooking penalties in the neutral zone or the dreaded diving call that still haunts him to this day, and often several in one game. More recently it’s not the number but the timing – he has a knack for taking penalties at the worst possible time, and often 200 feet from his own net. It’s gotten to the point where we in DC have coined the “Semin Hat Trick” in his honor: two beautiful goals and an offensive zone stick infraction.

Alexander Semin simply has this enigmatic quality about him that confuses fans, baffles the media and drives his coaches downright nutty. He’ll make a beautiful move around four defenders and then turn the puck over without a fight. He’ll score on the simplest of wrist shots then elect to pass when there’s no lane. He’ll kill penalties (and get a shorthanded chance to boot) but find himself on the wrong side of the law at the most inopportune moment.

He is at once an immensely talented and highly confounding player – and it’s what earns Alexander Semin the title of Most Frustrating Ever.

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    Blues reportedly avoid arbitration with Parayko by inking him to five-year, $27.5 million contract

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    The St. Louis Blues and Colton Parayko were scheduled to have an arbitration hearing this morning, but it sounds like that will no longer be necessary.

    According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the two sides have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension worth a total of $27.5 million ($5.5 million AAV).

    Heading into arbitration, Parayko was reportedly looking for a one-year deal worth$4.85 million, while St. Louis was offering two years at $7 million total.

    Obviously, the Blues paid a little more on this contract, but that’s because they were able to “buy” some of Parayko’s free-agent years.

    The 24-year-old just completed his second season with the Blues. He managed to four goals, 35 points and 32 penalty minutes in 81 games.

    Parayko also saw his average ice-time increase from his first year to his second year, as he played just over 21 minutes per game in 2016-17.

    On top of his two solid seasons in St. Louis, he also opened some eyes at this year’s World Hockey Championship, where he had three goals and seven points in six games for Team Canada. He averaged 24 minutes of ice-time during the tournament, and Canada went on to win silver.

    Nolan Patrick is dealing with ‘an infection in his face’

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    Nolan Patrick just can’t seem to catch a break when it comes to staying healthy.

    Patrick was scheduled to skate at the Flyers’ practice facility on Thursday morning, but the team announced that he would be unable to do so because of an infection in his face.

    Patrick missed a good chunk of games during the 2016-17 WHL season because of sports hernia surgery, but that didn’t stop the Philadelphia from making him the second overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft.

    The Flyers recently announced that he had undergone a second similar procedure right before the draft, which kept him out of their development camp earlier this month.

    Earlier this week, the 18-year-old signed his three-year, entry-level contract with his new team.

    Of course, GM Ron Hextall would love for his prized rookie to crack the opening night roster, but he needs to show he can stay healthy before that happens.

    Related:

    Nolan Patrick thinks he can make immediate NHL jump with Flyers

    Nolan Patrick dealt with two hernias

    PHT Morning Skate: On how Jacques Plante ‘revolutionized’ hockey

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    Brian Campbell may have spoken to teams about continuing his career, but he didn’t start negotiating with any of them because he knew he wasn’t willing to continue playing. “I’ve been thinking about [retirement] for a while. At the end of the season, I didn’t know if I was ready to do it anymore. So that was only fair. But I will say July 1 was tough, a tough day. There’ve been some tough days. But I think we’re happy with our decision.” (CSN Chicago)

    –The Hockey Writers ranked each team’s farm system from 1 to 31. Interestingly enough, the Vegas Golden Knights don’t have the worst system in the league. That honor belongs to the San Jose Sharks. The number one team on the list is the Philadelphia Flyers. (The Hockey Writers)

    Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been with the Oilers for six years now, but he still hasn’t established himself as one of the dominant forces on the team. Per the Edmonton Journal, he could be skating on thin ice. “With Draisaitl likely to be paid next season and McDavid already signed to big money the following campaign, the cap budget at centre is tight. Whether Nugent-Hopkins stays or goes in the longer term, he needs a major bounceback next season to prove his worth.” (Edmonton Journal)

    –On Nov. 1, 1959, Jacques Plante revolutionized the game of hockey by putting on a goalie mask for the first time. NHL.com contributor Stan Fischler wrote: “The legacy of Plante’s decision is evident in today’s game. Not only are all goaltenders required to wear a mask, but teams must dress two goalies for every game. And when a goalie’s mask comes off during a game, the whistle is blown and play is stopped.” It’s a remarkable story. (NHL.com)

    –It’s always fun to think about how teams over in Europe would do against an NHL team. With the help of a couple of Russian hockey journalists, The Score put together a KHL all-star team, and asked fans to vote on where they think that team would finish in the NHL. Most people feel like the KHL all-stars would finish somewhere between 17th and 29th in the NHL. (The Score)

    Justin Williams signed a contract with the Carolina Hurricanes this summer, which means he had to move out of Washington. Some of his valuables got a little more attention than others:

    Teammates, friends were glad to see Okposo back on the ice

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    From the sound of things, Kyle Okposo‘s presence at “Da Beauty League” was a beautiful sight for Buffalo Sabres teammates, former teammates on the New York Islanders, and friends around the NHL.

    NHL.com’s Jessi Pierce was at that informal game, which apparently didn’t go well for Okposo’s team.

    That’s not the important part, certainly not in July. While Pierce noted that Okposo wasn’t comfortable answering questions during his first on-ice action in almost four months, it sounds like the talented winger was looking good on Wednesday night.

    Onlookers agreed with that sentiment, and also seconded the notion that he’s been doing well this summer, overall.

    “Obviously seeing a teammate go through something like that and struggle to get healthy is tough,” Sabres teammate Hudson Fasching said, via Pierce’s piece for NHL.com. “He’s such a good guy and going through a lot with that whole deal, trying to figure out what was wrong.

    “I’m just happy he’s healthy and happy for him to get back.”

    It was already noted that Okposo is expected to be ready for Sabres training camp, yet nights like these make it clearer that he’s likely on course. That’s a fantastic turnaround from his health scare in April.

    Pierce also has more here.