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Whaler1

The Semin Enigma....

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I just want to point out that at least some of us are speculating as to what might be wrong with Semin, which is different from making excuses for him.  The absence of knowledge leaves a vacuum which we tend to fill up with speculation.  That's what I've been doing in this thread (can't speak to others),  Unfortunately "upper body injury" doesn't really give us anything to go on. :(

 

Here's what we know about Semin:

  • He wore out his welcome in Washington after building up a reputation with the Caps of being a supremely talented winger with inconsistency in his game and his habits.
  • He had a very good 1st season with the Canes in a contract year.
  • He had a very disappointing 2013-14 year with the Canes after receiving a big, long-term contract.
  • He apparently played most of 2013-14 with a wrist injury.
  • He had wrist surgery after last season.
  • He hasn't showed up at all this year, not shooting, not skating, not hitting.

Different people are going to speculate different reasons for Semin's lack of performance.  Until I get some real info, I tend to be a bit cautious about defaulting to reasons like "he's got his money so it doesn't really matter to him" or "he's lazy and just doesn't care", etc.  

That doesn't fit in with my perception of what it takes for an athlete to make it to the top of the pro ranks. More so, I remember J.R. Richard, one of the best pitchers in baseball in the late '70s who started out great in 1980 but who, as the season progressed, began to complain of a "dead arm". Many interpreted his complaints as whining or malingering. Others theorized that Richard was egotistical and could not handle the pressure of pitching on the same team as Nolan Ryan, or being jealous of Ryan's $4.5 million contract. Turned out that Richard had blood clots and suffered several small strokes before a major one which ended his career (thanks wikipedia ;)).

 

To recap some of my previous posts, my guess is that Semin is suffering from some combination of the wrist not being back to 100% and some "head thing".  Poor response to frustration at not being able to play up to expectations due to his wrist?  Poor response to a team he views as not being competitive?  Something clinical? (depression isn't unheard of in the ranks of pro athletes but you almost never learn about it, at least until after they retire).   

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The problem is you continue to post snide, and generally look-down-your-nose comments and assign those comments generally to all posters, for example, see "few take the time to actually read, fewer still to comprehend" in your above post, and then the bolded in your current post.  Neither is the case. You are right though, I stop reading a post at that point.

 

You have your own opinion, which is great. Let others have theirs, even if you don't agree, particularly those of us who actually take the time to preface their comments with the actual results of Semin's play, and the coaches decisions on how to use him, as an index to his performance.

 

I agree he's playing badly, but I've never once applauded his effort as a reason we won the game, or assign blame to him individually for a loss.  It's a collective effort, regardless of the outcome.

 

Personally, I think his biggest issue is consistent effort all over the ice, and with improvement in that one aspect of his game, I believe he can be more productive in Peter's system and help the team going forward.

 

That doesn't negate the fact, and based on the results of the games, that he's not engaged.  Maybe the guy just isn't coachable?

 

Thanks,

coastal

Wow, if you think that's "snide," coastal, my actual snide stuff would curl your hair! Or straighten it, whichever applies. :P  Let me know if you'd like a link to a veritable compendium of my more Thompsonesque written stylings. 

 

Anyway (and finally!) on the substance of the question, "what's ailing Alex," I tend to agree with Lake - until clubs are willing to disclose real facts about players' issues (thank you, Lou Lamorello, for the endless cloak and dagger), we won't know for sure. But when you live and die by the wrist shot, have had wrist surgery that was widely reported not to have responded well to rehab, and were forced into playing in more situations than you normally might thanks to the injuries of others for the first month of the season - yeah, I think that could be having an effect.

 

But we really won't know any more than the club is willing to tell us.

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But we really won't know any more than the club is willing to tell us.

 

Well the club, through Coach Peters, actually did tell us:

 

“He’s not moving his feet, not playing at the pace that the league is at,” Peters said. “The league is at a very good pace, there are guys with track pressure and there is no time and space, so if you are not moving your feet, you are going to get caught from behind. If you are going to make a slow-developing play, guys that were open are going to be covered eventually and everything closes off so you have to play quicker.”

 

“We want Sems’ to be a part of it, we want ‘Sems’ to be a big part of it,” Peters said. “We want him to play the game hard and play the game properly and play the game with pace and live up to his ability and his potential. In order to do that, you got to put the work in and you have to be mentally and physically engaged in what you are doing.”

 

Semin's TOI has continued to decline, so I'm more inclined to believe the substance of Peters statement, and the hammer, rather than speculate on a lingering injury, or suggest there is some language barrier, or he doesn't understand the system, etc.

 

But I have no problem with your or Lake's opinion either, and don't plan on trying to sway it another way.

 

http://www.wralsportsfan.com/canes-bench-under-performing-alexander-semin/14136235/

Edited by coastal_caniac

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Sooner or later we are going to see our offense explode with Semin running the show.  Not sure when the explode effect will happen.  But hopefully soon..

Well 6 goals last night, i think Semin was under 10 minutes total, he did   cause  2  penalties, didnt play too bad i thought.. :)

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If it was his wrist, he wouldn't have been a healthy scratch for two games. That was punishment for not getting with the program. He came back and still isn't with the program.

If some here can bash Ward when things are bad, I certainly have the right to bash Semin when his lackadaisical play and non-productivity are hurting the team. His salary is a big issue, and just who was JR bidding against when he signed that contract? I dare say there isn't another GM in the league that would have agreed to those terms considering Semin's history. Yes, he's an easy target because of the perception of his past play, but whose fault is that?

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If it was his wrist, he wouldn't have been a healthy scratch for two games. That was punishment for not getting with the program. He came back and still isn't with the program.

If some here can bash Ward when things are bad, I certainly have the right to bash Semin when his lackadaisical play and non-productivity are hurting the team. His salary is a big issue, and just who was JR bidding against when he signed that contract? I dare say there isn't another GM in the league that would have agreed to those terms considering Semin's history. Yes, he's an easy target because of the perception of his past play, but whose fault is that?

Agree 200 percent. I was floored when JR signed him to that deal, even more stunned by the timing, midway through the season. If JR (and everyone else in the NHL) learned nothing from Semin's time in DC, it's that he appeared to play far better when his livelihood was on the line than when he was under a long-term deal. JR let half a season of (admittedly) great production - and probably pressure from Semin's agent - convince him things had changed.

 

The only way to keep Alex producing is with one-year deals, it seems. The other possibility is he's homesick for Mother Russia. If so, I wish he'd just GO HOME already.

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Well the club, through Coach Peters, actually did tell us:

 

“He’s not moving his feet, not playing at the pace that the league is at,” Peters said. “The league is at a very good pace, there are guys with track pressure and there is no time and space, so if you are not moving your feet, you are going to get caught from behind. If you are going to make a slow-developing play, guys that were open are going to be covered eventually and everything closes off so you have to play quicker.”

 

“We want Sems’ to be a part of it, we want ‘Sems’ to be a big part of it,” Peters said. “We want him to play the game hard and play the game properly and play the game with pace and live up to his ability and his potential. In order to do that, you got to put the work in and you have to be mentally and physically engaged in what you are doing.”

 

Semin's TOI has continued to decline, so I'm more inclined to believe the substance of Peters statement, and the hammer, rather than speculate on a lingering injury, or suggest there is some language barrier, or he doesn't understand the system, etc.

 

But I have no problem with your or Lake's opinion either, and don't plan on trying to sway it another way.

 

http://www.wralsportsfan.com/canes-bench-under-performing-alexander-semin/14136235/

the best thing about Peter's approach is that when top guys respond to lower minutes, they can have an immediate impact because they are likely slotted against lesser lines. Someone with Alex's stick handling and shooting skills should be able to light it up against third and fourth liners, and (while I'm not trying to sway your opinion either, Coastal!) the fact that he hasn't feasted on these opportunities adds to my concern about a lingering issue. He was absolutely benched for underperformance and I fully support that, but his lack of contribution since returning and subsequent injury time makes me wonder, that's all.

 

I think at the end of the day Alex is a proud guy and a quiet guy whose response to the "new sheriff" might have been to dummy up about his own issues when the other top guys went down, to try to suck it up for the good of the team. But on the other hand (wrist?), he responded well (I thought) to getting the A in preseason; he looked engaged, questioned calls and there just seemed to be an element of pride in how he carried himself in that game. I don't know if he asked not to have it or it was stripped, but after that one game it was gone without any comments about why, at least none that I've been able to find. But I did find this - look how Sasha spent his off-season: http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/2014/07/30/alex-semin-gets-married-in-secret-wedding-ceremony-held-at-some-point-in-time-in-russia-somewhere/

 

And the enigma grows...

Edited by top-shelf-1

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I agree with you top-shelf. I think once he starts scoring everyone will love him the same way how we love Cam again now. He missed a goal last night by maybe 2 inches top right corner. Had he scored it would start a different story.

 

Another point I thought of is that Peter's style of play seems to be rushing the net a lot and getting bounces or rebounds. Not really Semin's style, I don't think I've seen a break away goal from him since he's been here. Everyone loved him 2 years ago becuase he was a playmaker who could also be dangerous sniping. No wonder he's having difficulty adjusting. He could also be a bit more physical, which I saw a bit of in his short time on the ice last game. And why he isn't being used on the PP is beyond me, that's when he can do the most damage, but we're still punishing him?

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It is very hard to know certain things for sure. But it is clear that Peters is not happy with Semin's play. It is also clear to anyone watching even slightly, that he is not his usual self. The reason I am putting it on Semin is because his play appears so lackadaisical. Look, for years I have pointed out that the little Gerbe's and LaRoses of the world will always both BE hardest working, but also LOOK hardest working due to their size (have to chug feet faster and have to be quicker to make the league at that size). Guys like Staal and Semin are long stride, smooth skaters. 

 

But we've been watching Semin here for a while now. During his strong first season he looked and was far more engaged. He's not going to level the huge hit, but he'll snag the puck from a guy wheel around, put a move on etc. He'll at least be leaning into the play a little. Right now he seems to lean away. Tentative. He is turning the puck over to avoid any contact. True, a player might do that if he is playing injured, but if he is, he must be hiding it from the coach or the coach isn't buying it or we would not be seeing press box games, no PP time and ice time cut. That is Peters clearest signal to Semin and anyone else watching that the coach is not liking what Semin is bringing.

 

To this point this is NOT a case of bad breaks. He is not creating anything. You can't score if you attempt zero shots. That means you are not even able to get to a place to take a shot, let alone get one off, let alone get it on net, let alone score. Right now this man of off the charts hockey skill is generating less than guys that barely made the team. 

 

The obvious thing to me, and oddly the good news of this, is that the entire rest of the team is getting on Peter's page and it is paying off. Outside of the lone stinker vs. Winnipeg, this team is playing far better over the last 10 games. If Sekera had not McBained us in Boston, and if the hockey gods had any sense of justice vs. San Jose, we could easily be 8-1-1 over the last 10. Usually there is one or no NHL teams 8-1-1 over 10. 

 

What I am saying, is that outside of some defensive coverage issues, and some fine tuning, Semin is THE problem for Peters. He is handling him the usual way. The way he said he would. But Semin is a different bird. Since no one is going to take the guy in trade right now, Peters has to solve the Semin puzzle. If he can't it will be the gaping sore in the room. If he can, and Semin starts lighting it up? Things could get really fun around here. 

 

Washington did the long road down. Less ice time. Third line. etc. etc. This is "the" way. But Peters is stuck w/ Semin and might have to figure something else out if that doesn't work. You can't just cut him loose (performance vs. contract). You have to keep trying to find something that works.

 

Peters is a smart guy. This is his biggest challenge. Can he solve Semin with the standard approach? Will he find some more unconventional key to unlock the Semin box? Time will tell.

Edited by remkin

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It is very hard to know certain things for sure. But it is clear that Peters is not happy with Semin's play. It is also clear to anyone watching even slightly, that he is not his usual self. The reason I am putting it on Semin is because his play appears so lackadaisical. Look, for years I have pointed out that the little Gerbe's and LaRoses of the world will always both BE hardest working, but also LOOK hardest working due to their size (have to chug feet faster and have to be quicker to make the league at that size). Guys like Staal and Semin are long stride, smooth skaters. 

 

But we've been watching Semin here for a while now. During his strong first season he looked and was far more engaged. He's not going to level the huge hit, but he'll snag the puck from a guy wheel around, put a move on etc. He'll at least be leaning into the play a little. Right now he seems to lean away. Tentative. He is turning the puck over to avoid any contact. True, a player might do that if he is playing injured, but if he is, he must be hiding it from the coach or the coach isn't buying it or we would not be seeing press box games, no PP time and ice time cut. That is Peters clearest signal to Semin and anyone else watching that the coach is not liking what Semin is bringing.

 

To this point this is NOT a case of bad breaks. He is not creating anything. You can't score if you attempt zero shots. That means you are not even able to get to a place to take a shot, let alone get one off, let alone get it on net, let alone score. Right now this man of off the charts hockey skill is generating less than guys that barely made the team. 

 

The obvious thing to me, and oddly the good news of this, is that the entire rest of the team is getting on Peter's page and it is paying off. Outside of the lone stinker vs. Winnipeg, this team is playing far better over the last 10 games. If Sekera had not McBained us in Boston, and if the hockey gods had any sense of justice vs. San Jose, we could easily be 8-1-1 over the last 10. Usually there is one or no NHL teams 8-1-1 over 10. 

 

What I am saying, is that outside of some defensive coverage issues, and some fine tuning, Semin is THE problem for Peters. He is handling him the usual way. The way he said he would. But Semin is a different bird. Since no one is going to take the guy in trade right now, Peters has to solve the Semin puzzle. If he can't it will be the gaping sore in the room. If he can, and Semin starts lighting it up? Things could get really fun around here. 

 

Washington did the long road down. Less ice time. Third line. etc. etc. This is "the" way. But Peters is stuck w/ Semin and might have to figure something else out if that doesn't work. You can't just cut him loose (performance vs. contract). You have to keep trying to find something that works.

 

Peters is a smart guy. This is his biggest challenge. Can he solve Semin with the standard approach? Will he find some more unconventional key to unlock the Semin box? Time will tell.

all good points, Rem, but when I look at the shots he's missing, they are shots he normally buries. The top corner miss another poster mentioned above is a great example, but the one that really stands out for me was about the second or third game in, a forehand wrister where he had the whole upper quadrant of the net and sailed it about two feet over the crossbar. I mean, it was like, "I could make that shot. From here on my sofa." For a finesse guy like Sasha his wrists are like a pianist's hands, and I have to think getting one worked on can mess with your head. 

 

And given the head in question...  :P

 

None of which excuses, as you rightly point out, his lack of engagement elsewhere on the ice. No doubt his rep with DC preceded him in Peters' mind and after watching him last year I think Ronnie's manure meter is redlining too, and I agree that the tough love routine is the game plan for dealing with him.

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Well it looks like Peters is going with the hammer again, healthy scratching him. Probably against LA's heavy game, Peters just doesn't want this version of Semin in there, but it remains Hammer Time from Peter's vantage.

Edited by remkin

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Part of me feels that this is on Peters for not properly utilizing an elite player.  I do't criticize him much at all but this time I think he is in the wrong.  There is no chance in hell that Malone is an upgrade over Semin.  It is the coaches job to properly motivate and properly utilize his players.  So far... Peters is failing.  Maybe Semin wants out who knows.

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I don't think a Coach has too much control over a situation such as this (given it is as it appears and we don't really know).  A player with no motivation?  Who may not care if they get ice time, who is making $7,000,000 whether he sweats or not?  How in the world can you control, correct or have any weight on something like this?  I don't know, I just don't feel like it is fair to put any of this on the Coach.  I respect your opinion, i just don't understand it.  And guess what, that is fine and thats what makes the Boards fun to interact on.  If we all agreed it would be boring as hell.

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An ELITE PLAYER plays like a elite player.... He is sulking, and bringing it to his game, thats non-professional.. jmo   Dr. Dinz [ not a member of the  Carolina  Hurricanes  Psychology community :)]

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I don't think a Coach has too much control over a situation such as this (given it is as it appears and we don't really know).  A player with no motivation?  Who may not care if they get ice time, who is making $7,000,000 whether he sweats or not?  How in the world can you control, correct or have any weight on something like this?  I don't know, I just don't feel like it is fair to put any of this on the Coach.  I respect your opinion, i just don't understand it.  And guess what, that is fine and thats what makes the Boards fun to interact on.  If we all agreed it would be boring as hell.

I agree. It's something I've probably posted here too often already, from Robert J. Ringer's book "Million Dollar Habits," but it applies in this situation: "The door to motivation is locked from the inside."

 

There are things a coach or a manager or an org can do to create an environment that encourages success, and for many people that is often enough to get them to use all their talents (if they are not already doing so). But if there is any truth in the old saying "there's one in every crowd" - and in my experience there is always AT LEAST one - Alex might be the one on this team. Clearly Peters feel like he has tried everything else, and has now gone to trying to shame Alex. There are few more humiliating things I can think of for an elite player than being a healthy scratch in the barn of the best team in hockey, especially one about which people are beginning to toss around the "d" word (dynasty). Imagine being one of the top-paid players on your team and traveling to Edmonton or Long Island during the glory years and having your butt tossed in the press box.

 

The wake up calls are over. Peters is the housekeeper ignoring the "do not disturb" sign. Last night he walked right through the room door and dumped a bucket of ice water on Semin's head. 

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I can't help but have a bad feeling about our newest pickup being there just to be in Semin's spot when the coach wants to punish him/Semin's not playing well. He has to be in the NHL for 30 days before he can be sent to the AHL. I think it will be very telling with Semin over this month... he's going to really have to fight for a spot and ice time.

Edited by a5pj

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I can't help but have a bad feeling about our newest pickup being there just to be in Semin's spot when the coach wants to punish him/Semin's not playing well. He has to be in the NHL for 30 days before he can be sent to the AHL. I think it will be very telling with Semin over this month... he's going to really have to fight for a spot and ice time.

 

Sorry a5, I can't agree with the premise that we signed Nestrasil primarily due to Semin. Even before any Semin issues the Canes had only 3 "natural" right wings on the roster (Semin, Dwyer, and Lindholm).  Even a minor injury to one of them would leave us with just 2. Picking up another RW was a move I thought we should have made before the season even started.  And Nesty (we need a nickname for him, too awkward to spell) seems like a great opportunity;  big, young kid with a 2-way minimum salary contract.  If he doesn't help the Canes, send him to Charlotte and at least we help the Checkers (or he's picked up off of wavers by another team).

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Sorry a5, I can't agree with the premise that we signed Nestrasil primarily due to Semin. Even before any Semin issues the Canes had only 3 "natural" right wings on the roster (Semin, Dwyer, and Lindholm).  Even a minor injury to one of them would leave us with just 2. Picking up another RW was a move I thought we should have made before the season even started.  And Nesty (we need a nickname for him, too awkward to spell) seems like a great opportunity;  big, young kid with a 2-way minimum salary contract.  If he doesn't help the Canes, send him to Charlotte and at least we help the Checkers (or he's picked up off of wavers by another team).

 

Well that makes me feel better :)

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I can't help but have a bad feeling about our newest pickup being there just to be in Semin's spot when the coach wants to punish him/Semin's not playing well. He has to be in the NHL for 30 days before he can be sent to the AHL. I think it will be very telling with Semin over this month... he's going to really have to fight for a spot and ice time.

I don't think you have anything to worry about. Nestril is a 6'3" Center and I doubt he was brought in to "replace" Semin. He was likely a player Peters developed when he was with Detroit and picked up because he just happened to be come available because the Wings needed to bring up Weiss.....assuming Peters wouldn't move him to play the wing. Good for us if he works out.

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.....There is no chance in hell that Malone is an upgrade over Semin.  It is the coaches job to properly motivate and properly utilize his players.  So far... Peters is failing.  Maybe Semin wants out who knows.

I disagree, then agree, then disagree with this post! Haha! Malone is 100% better to have on the ice than Semin. At least he plays defense and plays his role. That's the rub. They have different roles. You can't "punish" Semin by putting him on the 4th line to grind (because he won't, he'll just twirl around on shifts and try not to get hit) and he isn't showing up for games on the 1st or 2nd line. It is the job to motivate and utilize players (agree)....BUT Peters is not failing on this. You ever try to get a guy making $7million/yr to skate when he'd rather take up space in the locker room and not put in the work? If the player doesn't have enough pride or doesn't care about his game, he's holding the cards. You bench him, regardless of salary. 

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Semin is becoming a distraction. He is also making our coaches,GM and others spend valuable time trying to solve the Semin dilemma. Unless he regains form there is no easy or perfect solution. I would think waivers are next. Having him sit in the press box waiting for a buyout doesn't sit well with me. We are going to pay him anyway (unless he pulls a Kovi) so make him ride a bus for a little while.

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AMEN!  At this point, I don't think there is a bigger liability on the team than Semin.  I would also think that it is disruptive to the whole team when one guy is just not buying in, or so it appears.  Line changes, scratches, etc.  This is obviously not the desired outcome to the problem, but I do commend management for sticking to their guns and doing what should be done.

 

Also agree with OBX'er on the bus ride. 

 

I disagree, then agree, then disagree with this post! Haha! Malone is 100% better to have on the ice than Semin. At least he plays defense and plays his role. That's the rub. They have different roles. You can't "punish" Semin by putting him on the 4th line to grind (because he won't, he'll just twirl around on shifts and try not to get hit) and he isn't showing up for games on the 1st or 2nd line. It is the job to motivate and utilize players (agree)....BUT Peters is not failing on this. You ever try to get a guy making $7million/yr to skate when he'd rather take up space in the locker room and not put in the work? If the player doesn't have enough pride or doesn't care about his game, he's holding the cards. You bench him, regardless of salary. 

Edited by allboys

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http://thehockeywriters.com/alex-semins-latest-scratch-has-canes-in-dire-situation/

 

 

Article doesn't really offer up any solutions, but does recap the situation well.

 

 

I think the Hammer will only work to a point. At some point there has to be a chance at redemption. Then if still nothing....no great answers. But getting Semin back as Semin is worth trying. That's a lot of points sitting there that will not come from Jay McClemment no matter how hard he plays.

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