<span class="vcard">Mike Halford</span>

Carolina Hurricanes v Detroit Red Wings

Habs GM hopes Semin will ‘bring his skill and his compete level’


To hear Marc Bergevin explain it, it’s simple — to be successful in Montreal, Alex Semin needs to work hard, and do it consistently.

“We hope he’ll bring his skill and his compete level to Montreal,” the Habs GM said on Wednesday, per the Gazette. “If you don’t score — (and) it’s hard to score in today’s game — you have to bring something else to the table.

“So it’s either backchecking or stripping pucks or playing solid hockey. That’s what I expect from you if you don’t score.”

Expectations and Semin haven’t always meshed well.

After scoring a monster five-year, $35 million deal from Carolina in 2013, his game fell of a cliff; there were whispers the 31-year-old Russian became complacent (at, at times, lethargic) after getting paid. The fact he was in the elite $7-million-per-year club only added to the scrutiny.

So this summer, just two years after signing him, Carolina bought Semin out of the remainder of his contract.

As such, expectations are now significantly lower. Semin’s on an inexpensive contract in Montreal — one year, $1.1 million — and, given he scored just six goals in 57 games last year, any uptick in production will be seen as a positive.

As others have mentioned, there is hope Semin can rediscover his game with the Canadiens like Alexei Kovalev did a few years ago. The similarities between the two are obvious — Russian, mercurial, immensely skilled — and it is worth noting that, during the 2007-08 campaign, the 34-year-old Kovalev had a renaissance season in which he scored 84 points in 82 games, was named to his first (and only) NHL All-2nd Team and actually served as team captain twice that year, when Saku Koivu was out with injury.

Bergevin is hopeful Semin can have the same sort of revival.

“Obviously, things didn’t go his way in Carolina,” he said. “He’s going to have a chance to prove that he is a player that he once was and he’s still young at 31 years of age.”

Report: Rangers prospect Andersson headed to North America

ERC Ingolstadt v EV Zug - Champions Hockey League

New York draftee Calle Andersson — the son of former Ranger Peter Andersson — will reportedly leave Swiss side HC Lugano and play in North America next season, per the club’s website.

Andersson, who turned 21 in May, is coming off a very strong year.  He performed well as one of Lugano’s youngest defensemen, scoring 17 points in 30 games and another three in six playoff appearances.

He also boasts both good hockey bloodlines — his dad, in addition to playing for the Rangers, also suited up for Florida and is now Lugano’s assistant coach — and size (Andersson’s listed at 6-foot-2, 212 pounds).

The Rangers’ fourth-round pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Andersson will reportedly spend next year on a two-way deal.

While he may get a shot at some cameo appearances in New York, it seems likely he’ll be on his way to AHL Hartford for some seasoning.

PHT Morning Skate: ‘Hawks fan hikes Machu Picchu, meets Jonathan Toews

Jonathan Toews

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Ryan Adorjan has been traveling in Peru for the last three months, during which time he both watched Jonathan Toews win the Stanley Cup on television… then met Jonathan Toews while hiking Machu Picchu. Decent little trip, that. (Oswego Only)

Former Kings, Devils and Hurricanes forward Andrei Loktionov is eyeing a return to the NHL. (Russia-Hockey.ru)

He hasn’t been asked yet, but Ryan Smyth has contemplated housing Connor McDavid this season in Edmonton. (NHL.com)

The Coyotes have hired Corey Schwab and Jon Elkin as their new goalie coaches. (Fox Sports Arizona)

Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon worked the drive-thru window of a Nova Scotia Tim Horton’s on Monday. Insert Ryan O’Reilly joke here. (The Chronicle Herald)

Wild’s Dumba asked Boogaard’s family permission to wear No. 24

Minnesota Wild v Toronto Maple Leafs

Kind move here from Minnesota d-man Mathew Dumba, who will be switching from No. 55 to No. 24 this season:

Boogaard, who passed away in 2011 from an accidental drug and alcohol overdose, wore No. 24 in Minnesota from 2006-10 and emerged as something of a cult figure, thanks in large part to his pugilistic skills.

His jersey eventually became one of the Wild’s top sellers.

Two other players have since worn No. 24 for Minnesota — Martin Havlat and, most recently, Matt Cooke. Like Dumba, Cooke reached out to Boogaard’s family to get their blessing.

“The team told me they’re OK with me wearing it because Marty [Havlat] wore it after [Boogaard],” Cooke said, per the Star-Tribune. “I don’t really feel comfortable putting it on without his mum and dad’s blessing. I’ve sent emails off to them. I want to let them know that by putting it on I’m absolutely not doing anything disrespectful. It’s been my only number in the NHL, but at the end of the day, I don’t want anyone’s feelings hurt.

“I don’t want anyone to think that I am being disrespectful and I want to make sure I take care of that before I even entertain the thought of putting it on.”

Cooke was bought out of the final year of his deal last month, which paved the way for Dumba to inherit No. 24.

Report: Visnovsky considering European options

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 04: Lubomir Visnovsky #11 of the New York Islanders in action against the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on February 4, 2014 in Washington, DC. The New York Islanders won, 1-0. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Veteran defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky could be on his way overseas.

Per a report from Slovakian news outlet Novy Cas, Visnovsky is entertaining the option of starting the year in Europe — possibly in the Czech or Swiss League — while waiting on a potential NHL offer.

Back in late June, the 38-year-old — who has spent the last three years in New York — said he was “definitely” going to play next season, but Isles GM Garth Snow promptly threw cold water on a potential return to Long Island.

“I don’t anticipate Visnovsky coming back,” he explained. “So there’s potential for one of our young defensemen to earn a spot, whether it’s [Scott] Mayfield, [Ryan] Pulock, [Griffin] Reinhart, we’ll see what happens via the trade route at the draft and then look into free agency.”

Since then, the Isles traded Reinhart to Edmonton and were pretty quiet in free agency, with the only real splash on defense coming in the form of Thomas Hickey’s three-year extension.

If the Isles don’t eventually come calling — and it looks highly unlikely they will — Visnovsky will be hard-pressed to catch on elsewhere. While he had a decent offensive campaign in ’14-15, with 20 points in 53 games, he struggled defensively at times, and often looked a step slow.