Thursday, July 26, 2012

Happy Trails, Sasha Minor

Earlier today, Alex Semin signed a one year deal with Carolina, worth $7 million.  Seven strange years, 469 regular season games, 51 more in the playoffs, and countless memories later, one of the most eclectic players to don the skates has departed for browner, though still green, pastures.

Alex Semin caught a lot of flack in his time in DC.  From his mysterious, sudden departure in 03-04, to his taking the NHL by storm in his triumphant return in 06-07, to his playoff disappointment this past Spring, Semin was full of both ups and downs.  We will always remember his flashy moves and streaky play; DC's response to Alexei Kovalev.  At times the best player in the league - NHL points leader in 08-09 until a December back injury derailed him - and at times an overpaid underachiever, Semin will serve as a reminder in DC to what could have been.

Semin, quite possibly more than any other Capital in our team's history, embodied what it meant to be a Capital; from a fan's perspective.  His enigmatic ways always left us wanting more - who else in the league could score a hat trick, make a single turnover, and be a villain? - just like the team's disappointments in the playoffs.  Semin is very much a superstar, unwilling at that, but there is something missing.  It is difficult to quite put a finger on it though, which is why both he and the team failed.  If he can put the package together, for a few years at a time, if ever given the chance, then Semin very well may end up in Toronto when all is said and done.

According to Angus Certified, Semin was a fantastic linemate and actually a very solid defensive player, something that most people around the league do not want to believe.  The site also argues, indirectly, that Semin was a good team player, since he adapted his game effectively to both new team strategies and new coaches.  Yet, if you were to ask Marc Crawford, or Pierre HugMePleaseSid McGuire, Semin is Keyser Söze, the evilest villain [in sport].

So what caused this disparity in opinions?  Was it his refusal to speak English with reporters?  Was it his streaky play?  Was it his reported offers to play in Russia?  Maybe he just does not "want it bad enough", whatever that means?  Or is it xenophobia?  Are people scared of him because he is that weird, quiet Russian?  Who knows?

I do not have an answer for that.  There is something about Alex that is just... off.  I do not know how to quite put it into words. 

So, Alex, we bid you farewell.  Please take it easy on us.  

Worst of all for Caps fans, we will no longer have Semin serenading us with his musical stylings.  I present you, one last time, Alex Semin, bongo player extraordinaire!

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