When Alex Semin was still with the Washington Capitals, he wanted to be used in every situation a star player would typically be used.
On the power play, of course.
In the last minute of a close game, obviously.
But also defensively, including on the penalty kill.
So after it became clear that Semin would not be trusted in such an all-encompassing role with the Caps, he looked elsewhere.
In late July, he signed a one-year, $7 million deal with the Hurricanes, with the understanding he would be given more responsibility in Carolina than he got in Washington.
So far, he’s showing he deserved what he asked for, according to ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford.
“Boy, he’s been a very good player for us,” Rutherford told CBC Sports. “He could have five, six goals by now, he’s hit so many goal posts. But it’s not even the fact he has one goal. He’s played the game at both ends of the rink. Players have to focus on him all the time.
“They’re watching Semin, which opens [the ice] up a little more for Eric. He’s such a talented player, he can do whatever he wants, quite frankly. If he’s determined to score a goal, he’s gonna get his chances. If he’s going to play a two-way game, he can play it. He can kill penalties, play the power play. He’s been every bit as good as I hoped he’d be.”
Semin, 28, has six points (1G, 5A) in eight games for the Hurricanes, with a plus-7 rating.
He also has 35 shots, tied for sixth most in the NHL, lending weight to the notion he could easily have more goals than one.
As for Semin’s less-than-flattering reputation (see: selfish, brooding, enigmatic, etc.)?
“That’s a guy who gets a bad rap,” said Hurricanes captain Eric Staal.