We all know the negatives that surrounded Capitals forward Alex Semin, who is an unrestricted free agent as of Sunday and unlikely to return to the club. He was a penalty machine, his elite hands often getting him in trouble when he tried to make the unnecessary takeaway. He never warmed to the North American media, refusing to conduct interviews in English and only occasionally speaking through Russian media. He appeared aloof at times and while he had some dominant playoff series, there were far too many where he was a non-factor. During the network’s free agency coverage on Sunday, two TSN experts lambasted Semin when discussing his prospects as a free agent.
“You either take a guy who’s a complete winner, or take a guy who’s a complete loser,” said former NHL Marc Crawford. “[Semin] falls in that category.”
Crawford was asked to compare Semin with the top free-agent forward available, New Jersey’s Zach Parise.
“The difference is, one guy has a ton of character, one guy has no character,” Crawford said. “One guy scores 30 goals and doesn’t help his team. One guy scores 25 goals and helps them in every single way. So, yeah, I would sign him. He’ll be banished to a place like Columbus or something like that, and that’s what those guys do. They head to the island of misfit toys.”
Those words are about as harsh as any you will hear about a pro athlete who didn’t murder someone or incite an on-court riot in Detroit. Judge for yourself their fairness. They do represent a slice of the hockey world’s opinion so you wonder how it affects Semin’s value on the open market. The guess is several teams see the talent and will be willing to overlook those other issues. But, again, he’s dealing with opinions like this one from TSN analyst Pierre McGuire.
“This is not a great teammate,” McGuire said. “I’m telling you right now, not a good guy to have around your group unless you’ve got unbelievably strong leadership. He’s the ultimate coach killer, that’s what it is.”
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