But on Wednesday, ‘Canes president Don Waddell made sure there was no secrecy whatsoever about how the club really felt about the Russian winger.
“Semin was a very top-end player in the league when the game was played at a slower pace,” Waddell said. “It’s now played at such a high level if you can’t skate it’s hard to compete. Alex lost a step and he tried to play on the outside too much because he didn’t have the speed.
“And then he didn’t buy into the culture that our coach (Bill Peters) was trying to get in the locker room. When you go to practice and you have 22 guys doing things the way the coach wants and one who doesn’t, it usually doesn’t end well. … In simple terms, we paid him $14 million to go away.”
There are two ways of looking at this, really.
One, Carolina has the right to be choked about what transpired after it gave Semin a monster five-year, $35 million deal. His production fell through the floor, there were constant critiques about his effort level and the whole thing reeked of a guy that played hard in a contract year — 44 points in 44 games during the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign — got paid, then put it in cruise control, pulling over occasionally to cash a check.
But that said… didn’t everyone kind of expect this to happen?
The contract was hammered almost immediately, with several pundits calling since-departed GM Jim Rutherford crazy for offering it. With all the warning signs that were out there, Semin’s downward slide in Carolina was predictable — in fact, some of the first remarks upon hearing of the Semin contract were those wondering when it would be bought out.