Alex Semin

Alex Semin is working hard but lacking results


Washington Capitals forward Alex Semin had plenty to prove coming into the new season. Much of it to former teammate Matt Bradley.

Bradley, now with Florida, ripped into the 27-year-old Russian over the summer, saying Semin is “one guy who has so much talent, he could easily be the best player in the league, and just for whatever reason, just doesn’t care.”

Bradley has since apologized for his comments, but let’s face it, he meant what he said. It’s not like he’s the only one who’s voiced that opinion. He just did it in public.

Semin’s slow start to 2011-12 isn’t helping his case. In 12 games, he has just two goals and five assists.

Caps coach Bruce Boudreau, however, is sticking up for his much-maligned player.

“He’s working harder,” Boudreau said, as reported by “He’s more committed to doing what he’s supposed to be doing. You don’t see the real big lapses where he’s staying out on the ice for long periods of time.”

Semin’s lack of production has flown somewhat under the radar in DC with other stories like the Caps’ seven-game winning streak to kick off the season and Alex Ovechkin blatantly swearing at his coach receiving most of the attention.

But it’s no secret that Semin is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. And with the Capitals no longer struggling to score like they did in 2010-11 when they were learning how to play defense, you have to wonder if they’ll really need a player of Semin’s ilk come playoff time. A trade isn’t likely to happen at this point in the year, but it’s a situation worth monitoring leading up to the trade deadline.

I suppose the answer to the question of whether the Caps should consider dealing Semin is…depends if anyone would want him. Also, how badly they’d want him. A $6.7-million cap hit isn’t the easiest thing to move, but it’s not impossible, particularly late in the season when most of the actual salary has been paid out. Detroit and Boston are among the teams that could make room if they had to, assuming they don’t do anything else. If Dallas has a new owner in place and the Stars are still in a playoff position by late February, maybe that’s a destination.

Semin’s talent is undeniable. He had 28 goals last season in 65 games. There would be a market for his services.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning

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Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.