BrouwerSemin

Caps’ Brouwer slams ex-teammate Semin

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On the eve of Alex Semin making his return to Washington, Troy Brouwer had some pointed criticisms of his former teammate.

“Some nights you didn’t even know if he was gonna come to the rink,” Brouwer told the Washington Post. “It’s tough to play alongside guys like those because you don’t know what you’re gonna get out of ‘em.”

The Caps will host the ‘Canes on Tuesday, marking the first time Semin will play at the Verizon Center in an opponent’s uniform. The 28-year-old spent the first seven seasons of his NHL career in the nation’s capital, scoring 197 goals.

Brouwer doesn’t seem to miss any of it.

He went on to add that while it was tough to lose Semin’s scoring ability “when he wanted to play,” the Caps are “doing well without him.”

Two things to note here:

One, this isn’t the first time one of Semin’s old Washington teammates have blasted him in the media.

In 2011, former Caps winger Matt Bradley (then with the Florida Panthers) said Semin “just doesn’t care” and that “you almost get the sense that he wants to be back in Russia.”

Of course, the big difference between Bradley’s comments and Brouwer’s were that Bradley was no longer a part of the Washington organization upon making them.

(They also weren’t made on the eve of facing Semin.)

Two, Brouwer. He’s had — oh, how to put this — a propensity to vocalize his opinions about the Caps, despite the fact he’s only been there for a year-and-a-half.

Consider the following:

Capitals playing ‘pathetic’ hockey right now, says Brouwer

Brouwer accuses Caps teammates Hamrlik and Neuvirth of selling us out’

Brouwer on Caps: ‘We looked like a real timid, beaten down hockey team’

So yeah. Brouwer talks a lot.

As for Semin…well, he’s proven to be a quality pickup for Carolina, sitting third on the team in scoring — 4G-10A-14PTS in 17 games — while averaging 20:49 in ice time per game, most among all ‘Canes forwards.

He’s also won over team captain Eric Staal.

“He has been nothing but great,” Staal told TSN recently. “He’s been a great teammate for everyone in this room and the type of guy who competes in practice and in games and that’s all you can ask for.”

Update:

Carolina forward Tim Brent has jumped to Semin’s defense via Twitter…

Flames keep showing life, Stars stumble once again

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If you think the Dallas Stars are struggling because of defense more than anything else, then you’ll make sure to keep the video above “on file.”

There Kari Lehtonen was, helpless on a 2-on-0 rush for the Calgary Flames, which Johnny Gaudreau finished with calm and ease. For some, that goal is the symbol of the Stars’ season.

Either way, it was a painful goal in the Flames’ 2-1 win against the Stars. Calgary won despite Dallas firing 30 shots on goal versus the Flames’ 20.

One team climbing, the other stumbling

With that, the Flames are now on a four-game winning streak. Since falling to 5-10-1 on Nov. 12, the Flames have gone 9-3-1 in their last 13 games, pushing them to 14-13-2 overall. Gaudreau coming back is the icing on the cake after Chad Johnson really took charge of the Flames’ top job.

During a similar span, the Stars can’t seem to get it together. Dallas stood at 6-6-3 after beating the Oilers 3-2 on Nov. 11. They’re now 10-11-6, essentially standing in place as a .500 team.

Dallas can’t seem to get momentum going, a thought that might have left them envious of the team on the other end of the ice on Tuesday.

Canadiens are facing some turbulence (and mostly passing the test)

ST. LOUIS, MO - DECEMBER 6: Patrik Berglund #21 of the St. Louis Blues checks Tomas Plekanec #14 of the Montreal Canadiens at the Scottrade Center on December 6, 2016 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/ Getty Images)
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The Montreal Canadiens aren’t in crisis mode, but as far as this so-far outstanding 2016-17 season goes, they are finally facing some adversity.

Alex Galchenyuk, one of their most promising young players, is out indefinitely. There are murmurs that captain Max Pacioretty isn’t getting along with head coach Michel Therrien.* Tuesday presented a body blow or two to boot.

For one thing, the Canadiens gave up a 2-0 lead to lose 3-2 to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Jaden Schwartz grabbed an assist and scored the game’s last two goals, including the OT-winner:

Losing to a contender like the Blues, especially while still grabbing a “charity point,” isn’t that big of a deal. A possible David Desharnais injury makes things a little dicey, however:

Really, though, it’s not all that bad for Montreal. They managed a 2-2-1 mark during a five-game road trip heavy on quality opponents.

Also: six of their next seven games come at home, where they’re 12-1-1. So things will look brighter soon enough.

Still, with some injuries and a big road trip to end 2016 and start 2017, there may be some moments where Montreal looks vulnerable.

Ultimately, fighting through stretches like these could very well benefit the Habs later on.

* – Ah, the old standby: “Player X isn’t seeing eye-to-eye with Therrien.”

From the Blues’ side:

Ristolainen, Kane, O’Reilly push Sabres past McDavid and the Oilers

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 16:  Rasmus Ristolainen #55, Matt Moulson #26, Sam Reinhart #23, Kyle Okposo #21 and Ryan OÕReilly #90 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers on October 16, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
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On Tuesday, it wasn’t just about Jack Eichel vs. Connor McDavid. Instead, it was a clash between a fleet of young scorers who were in their prime, with the Buffalo Sabres coming up on top against the Edmonton Oilers.

In particular, high-scoring defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen, power forward Evander Kane and two-way center Ryan O'Reilly made the difference in Buffalo’s 4-3 overtime win.

Ristolainen’s first goal of 2016-17 was a big one, as it clinched the contest in OT:

Evander Kane scored two goals of his own, including one in the dying seconds of regulation to allow Buffalo to get a standings point (and then a second) in the first place.

Kane finished with two goals, O’Reilly generated two assists and Ristolainen managed a one-goal, two-assist performance.

It would be wrong to say that the marquee names didn’t show up at all. McDavid generated two assists and Eichel also nabbed a helper.

You’d be correct in saying that other young players stole the show, though, and the Sabres were the biggest beneficiaries.

Video: Brent Seabrook shaken up after awkward fall

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It wasn’t nearly as scary as the falls suffered by Travis Zajac or Philip Larsen, but the Chicago Blackhawks are still holding their breath when it comes to defenseman Brent Seabrook.

As you can see from the video above, Seabrook was tripped up by Jordan Martinook of the Arizona Coyotes during a simple puck battle. Seabrook was shaken up after falling awkwardly on that play.

At the moment, it’s unclear if this will be an ongoing issue or if the Blackhawks avoided a costly injury.

Martinook was not penalized.

CSN Chicago’s Tracey Myers notes that Seabrook wasn’t out to begin the third period. So far, not so good.

The Blackhawks beat the Arizona Coyotes 4-0, so the silver lining for Chicago is that they won.