For years, it seemed like Alexander Semin and Alex Ovechkin would be inexorably linked. Both are committed to playing for Russian during international tournaments and cut their teeth in the NHL with the Washington Capitals. Tarik El-Bashir reports that the dangling duo will represent Russia in the 2012 World Hockey Championships after losing to the New York Rangers in Game 7 on Saturday, so the tradition continues … for now.
Going forward, Semin and Ovechkin might only play on the same side – or even in the same league – when they play for Russia, though. While Ovechkin is locked down for the rest of his prime with Washington, Semin faces an uncertain future as an unrestricted free agent.
It’s hard to imagine the Capitals signing him again after handing him two one-year deals, especially since the team is shifting to a defensive-minded system that even his greatest defenders would agree doesn’t amplify his skill set. Any number of NHL teams might be interested in acquiring his services (and thus ignoring possibly unfair criticisms about how much he “cares”), but with the new provisions introduced by the KHL, there are probably a few teams in his native country who might entice him with home cooking and tax breaks as well.
Overall, the courtship of Semin might be awfully interesting, but almost every reasonable sign suggests that he’ll be seeing a lot less of Ovechkin in the near future.
Then again, a lot can change between now and July 1.