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The Semin Enigma....

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Either the wrist is fine, or we have a bunch of idiots running the show.

I would think the coaching staff has been/is just looking for an excuse to bench him and not hurt his little feelings. What kind of management lets a struggling player play 20+ games with an injured wrist?

I would think an injury would give Semin an excuse. It would give the coaches an excuse.

I see no reason why Semin would be playing with an injured wrist, and like others have said there are certainly other parts of his game that could have been elevated from their lowly state.

I'm sorry, no excuses for the Semin we have seen this year. All logical thinking points to the Canes and Semin benefitting from making an injury public, not the other way around. He certainly isn't helping us on the ice this year. If Semin was in a contract year and trying to hide the injury it would be somewhat logical but still far-fetched IMHO. Unfortunately, as we all know Semin is not in a contract year.

Honestly, talking about Semin struggling because of an injured wrist sounds like denial. It makes no sense unless Semin was in a contract year, we were a playoff bubble team in need of bodies and had nobody else that would be an improvement over a wounded Semin, or if Semin was playing well earlier in the year and we were making a late push for the playoffs and trying to hide the injury.

 

If it's a matter of playing with pain (low risk of aggravating the injury) and there's not a "quick fix", most professional athletes feel pressured to play, both by management and teammates. Just this past week former Vikings wide receiver Chris Carter said exactly that on the "Mike & Mike" show on ESPN.  Semin played most of last year with the wrist injury and it was kept secret until after the season; why would this year be any different?  Teams feel that letting opponents know specifics about injuries will lead to disadvantage, hence the "upper/ lower body injury" reports.  Even if Semin does have continuing wrist problems I completely agree with you on the "no excuse for him with respect to other parts of his game" front. 

 

If (I'm using that big "if" a lot lately :P ) Semin's wrist is not 100% I wonder if an option for the Canes would be to put him on LTIR?  It might not happen until after J comes back because of insurance $ issues. Pretty sure their insurance policy is for a set amount of money which J's injury is probably eating up right now.  I could see management thinking "if we have to pay Semin anyways we're better off letting him play with the pain and getting something out of him than than getting nothing out of him."  Of course, nothing is pretty much what we've been getting for most of the season so far. Hopefully his last game marks a turning point in that respect.  More pure speculation on my part here . . .

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First off: Lake you beat me to it. As I typed. But I'll offer my version anyway:

 

Somthing has been drastically wrong with Semin this year. There is as good of a chance it is injury related as not. If it is not, then he has simply completly quit. His productivity this year is simply not consistent with even bad Semin, who could sleep skate and put up at least .6 ppg. (his worst year outside of rookie year ironcially, last year, injured).

 

A non injured Semin put up.70 ppg his last year w/ the Caps, and .66 ppg was his previous worst non rookie year. Even his rookie year he put up .42 ppg. A prime Semin put up 1.27 ppg. That's how much skill is there.

 

Until that last goal, Semin was on a .26 ppg pace. That is just nuts.

 

I have no idea if Semin is still injured, but I can postulate a possiblity. He played w/ an injured wrist much of last year. He then had surgery to some part of his wrist area. There are wrist injuries that are notorious for not fully healing. If he had the surgery, and rehabbed, and is still hurting, he might very well try to play through it for a while. He was holding his wrist in pain in the penatly box the other day.

 

Anyway this is why it is an enigma. It is certainly possible that he just can't get on page with the coach and is simply a guy who pulls back if he's not feeling it. Clearly many in Washington and the hockey media tagged him with this. But he's never been this bad (last game excepted). Something is drastically off (as in half of his worst year ever off) It is certainly just as probable the there is (hopefully was) some other factoring in. The guy was just clearly just floating around avoiding all kinds of contact, even stick battles, and coughing up the puck.

 

Injured or not, he put up his first Semin-like game Thursday. It was a bit hidden by the loss. But the cough up turn overs that cost Semin a game wining goal and adulation in the locker room and media were not by him. Jordan and Nash gave Semin's glory away that night.

 

Still, watch that game, Semin was making sweet Semin-like plays. People complain about him not shooting more and that BTW also shades towards the wrist still bothering him, but when he can at least skate and keep the puck on his stick he can create sweet assists that should embarass all those rediculous NHL secondary assists. Some of those asssits are seriously FAR more important that the actual potting of the goal.

 

The game vs. Washington suggests that he might snap out of it. If he does, we CAN go on the kind of run we need to. That Washington game was pretty close to a stinker. Team was flat, Washington wanted it, yet Semin almost stole it. Still as mentioned above the loss obscured Semin's game. But that was one game.

 

If he falls back, I don't think this team does better than .500. If he pushes out, this team can make a run.

 

The next few games should be interesting on the Semin watch.

Edited by remkin

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Clearly Semin has played poorly this year, therefore drawing the attention of the coaches. If he is still injured/the wrist is still bothering him, why on earth would we be playing him? He has multiple years on his contract remaining and he isn't doing much on the ice, so why have him out there and not healing?

If Semin is telling management he is fine, his play has been inexcusable and he should be sent down or put in the press box for extended periods.

Like I said, any way you look at it, it doesn't make sense.

Would Semin's agent want him out there looking like he has? Is Semin himself really that blind as to what is being said about his play?

If he is still injured, then Semin (by trying to hide it) or the coaches (for allowing this to go on as long as it has) have failed.

Having said all of this it has looked like Semin's wrist has been non-functional all year. So maybe he isn't to blame (even though he doesn't strike me as a heart of the lion/fight through pain for a full season type of guy), maybe it is coaching/management's fault for allowing the disaster that's been Semin to happen.

.

Edited by Kyrule

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I wonder if an option for the Canes would be to put him on LTIR?  It might not happen until after J comes back because of insurance $ issues. Pretty sure their insurance policy is for a set amount of money which J's injury is probably eating up right now.  I could see management thinking "if we have to pay Semin anyways we're better off letting him play with the pain and getting something out of him than than getting nothing out of him."  

Great thoughts!! I never considered the LTIR option. I'm convinced that the wrist is in bad shape as wrist shots are never attempted. I also agree that it should not of affected his skating or lack of. I feel that he was totally out of shape and just getting into physical shape (outside of the wrist). Perhaps the pain and munching on pain killers was also a factor in motivation.

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In favor directly or vaguely of the notion that Semin is hurt.

(I think his last game looked better, but...)

 

1. Players play hurt all the time. It is a matter of degree vs. options. Ie. Can I play through it? If not what happens (more surgery?).

2. Semin is not shooting, his only goal was a shovel back hand.

3. Semin is seen rubbing his wrist, whlie wincing in pain in the penalty box.

4. Semin is pulling up shy of any significant contact or stick battles.

5. Semin is turning pucks over at high rate, often just losing the puck, or rushing the play, possibly to avoid contact.

6. Semin had offseason wrist surgery. Some wrist injuries have history of poor healing. (Scaphoid fractures for instance).

7. Even supposed "coach-killing, disinterested Washington" Semin put up more than double his current production.

8. The eyeball test. Even a casual fan can see that he is not right.

9. NHL teams do not reveal injuries*, supposedly so the injury is not targeted, but whatever, that's the game.

 

*yes, they will say upper and lower body, but with a chronic, nagging, injury, they often do not reveal anything.

 

I am thinking of two scenarios:

 

1. Team knows. It is possilbe that Semin has told the coach and GM that the wrist is not right. The doctors may have said something like, "you might be able to play through it, it might get better little by little, but if not... more surgery". The decision is made to try to play through it, and the team knows it. Semin hitting the press box might not have been punishment per se, but the fact that the wrist needed rest and we don't want to release injury info. Now this does hang him out to dry, but maybe the plan is to come clean down the road. The team has done this MANY times in the past w/ other players. This injury would not be a "sprain, stay out  X games, heal, come back". This would be a chronic problem that has no obvious time table. So we finesse it w/ the press box and vague statements about getting up to speed.

 

This is one where at the end of the year or at some point, the team says, "Well Alex was battling through an injury back then that few know about."

 

2. Team doesn't fully know. This one I wonder about. Semin does not want to have another surgery or maybe this is an injury w/ a known chronic problem issue. Semin is being paid a pretty dollar to play. What if he misses the rest of the season? What if the wrist is never fully right? Does he really want to go on LTIR? He is trying to play through it.

 

I don't know. It may be something else entirely. But it is something. This is not just an off year. This is a guy who is not engaging at all (until last game). This is either an injury or a total psychological shut down.

 

Semin's reputation biases us to think the latter, but this guy maintained excellent advanced stats through his entire stay in Washington, NOT just his contract years, in the face of the comments about his "attitude". He has never shown this kind of shut down. I think an injury makes much more sense. Much more.

 

Someday we may know.

 

For now, I am just hoping that it is feeling better, and he can do more like he did vs. Washington. Because for this team to have the kind of run they will need, must have an point producing Semin.

Edited by remkin

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I would think that if his wrist was not fully healed, he might have it taped or wear a brace for added support. If it is bothering him as much as his play might indicate, he shouldn't be playing. His play, to this point, has hurt the team, and, probably, put his career in jepordy.

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I'm not a Doctor, but this doesn't seem to be muscle or skeletal where it heals or you tape it.  Perhaps nerve related?

 

If you ever had such an issue you know what I mean.  Last year I had shoulder injury (nerve related).  I went from routine workouts with free weights to being unable to curl a 10 lb dumbbell, which I could normally do if I used my pinkie.

 

It took time, therapy (mundane exercise), and gradually got stronger. When I see Semin suddenly making crisper passes (recent 2 games), it seems similar.

 

I'm not a Doctor.....

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Rem, two comments on your last post:

 

  1. If Semin's wrist is hurting, I can't believe the team doesn't know about it. Heck, we're picking up on that possibility from afar.  I don't see how it would be possible for hiim to hide it from the coaching staff, let alone Friesen.  
  2. You said "This is either an injury or a total psychological shut down".  Given his lack of skating up until recently, I'm thinking perhaps both; total psychological shut down due to injury.

Kyrule, you said:

"Having said all of this it has looked like Semin's wrist has been non-functional all year. So maybe he isn't to blame (even though he doesn't strike me as a heart of the lion/fight through pain for a full season type of guy),"  As I mentioned earlier, I've heard many pro athletes state that there's a lot of pressure on them to play "hurt".  So I can see Semin playing, but I think you hit it on the head in speculating that Semin isn't a "heart of the lion" type of guy. That may be why he hasn't even been skating hard up until recently.  And I do think he deserves blame him for that, even if a hurt wrist does limit what he can do with the puck and the amount of contact he can handle.

 

Bottom line, I think it's a complex issue rather than a simple black and white one.  

Edited by LakeLivin

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Lake,

 

I think that if the wrist isn't right the team probably does know about it. That's why I listed that as #1.

 

I know that Semin has the reputation of not being a heart of the lion type of guy. I suspect their's some truth to it, but I am a bit of a contrarian by nature. Semin is not a physical, up and down, gritty player. He is a Russian. He plays Russian style hockey: A bit East to West and very shifty. He is a super smooth skater, and a fairly big guy. Not physically imposing, but not a tiny chugger like Rosey or Gerbe, who will always be fan favorites, not only because they work their tuckus off (they have too), but because it is so easy to see them chugging. Semin 6'2" and skates smooth. He also speaks primarily Russian and doesn't say a lot to the media. All of these things can play into a bit of a bias against a guy who is not the type of player the predominatey Canadian national media types love.

 

I'm not saying he doesn't deserve some of the psyche critism, just that he has long been a set up for bias against him if he is not dazzling and producing. That he is a set up for the easy default to that position.

 

I agree it could be both. His wrist (or whatever condition) is keeping him from the hockey he knows how to play, but he is giving it a go. Still he is overly tentative and starts getting into those bad habbits. There is no doubt that he was pulling back and not engaging basically all year. But, he was also making bad plays with the puck, and puck skills he can do in his sleep.

 

What I am saying is that the odds that this is JUST a lazy Russian malcontent seems exceedingly unlikely. Even when he carried that tag in the past, even in non contract years, he was literally 100% better than what we have seen this year. Whatever is going on this year, it is very likely that some kind of injury or subpar physical issue is involved. That is, of course, a pure speculative opinion on my part, but that's what we do.

 

As to, "then he shouldn't be playing". Recall that this team went down Jordan, Eric, Skinner, and was getting poor goaltending leading to a winless October. Pulling him out early was not easy. When we got some bodies back Peters did sit him, three times.

 

The only missing piece is why the Canes have not admitted to the injury. But there are a lot of reasons and lots of history of guys playing through injuries and the team only admits it later. Think about this. If Semin is incapable of getting off a great wrist shot, but could still theoretically help the team (like he did vs. Washington) with his passing, would you tell the rest of the league's defensemen and goalies that Semin can't get off a good wrist shot, but can only pass? Kind of answers itself.

Edited by remkin

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If the majority of Semin's issues are physical,what are the next steps from Ronnie? Alex can't be traded based on current performance. Does Ronnie buy him out at the end of the season or does he hope another off season of rehab brings the wrist back to playing shape? If Ronnie doesn't buy him out it may tell us the issue was physical. If Ronnie makes some of the trades that we feel are a necessity and Semin isn't bought out,comes back healthy,he could again be a key with his new line mates.

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According to CapGeek, a Semin buyout will cost the Canes $14m and save only $7m over what's left of his contract.   I could see someone like the Leafs absorbing that, but I don't see the Canes doing it unless things seem completely hopeless (i.e., practically no chance of Semin ever contributing again).  

Edited by LakeLivin

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Semin, like Cam before him, is/was not tradable with his contract/performance. This was the fundamental flaw during the offseason. Not that Francis didn't want to make moves, but none of the pieces that needed to be considered for movement, were movable without actually mortaging the future just to get someone to take them off our hands.

 

I believe Cam has moved out of that status, but Semin, has moved more INTO that status. The smart move at the start was to "first do no harm" and to see if some guys could play themselves back into being tradable. Also, I speculate that Eric was given a gentleman's chance to try one more time to lead this team.

 

Time is running out on this group though. IF E is only out for a few games, I still think we wait until after New Years. If E is out for more than 7 games....then time may be up now.

 

I keep thinking Francis knows this is the year to rebuild ideally. It is an historically rich draft (not just at the top), and he is still in honeymoon phase (as is his coach). But, the team also needs to make the playoffs, ASAP. And really, on paper, this team has enough to slide into the playoffs if they stay healthy. But J.'s leg and other injuries put us in a deep hole. Ironically, even as this team looks dramatically better, it is still managing to lose over half of it's games and stay right near the bottom.

 

The longer this happnes the more likely that the switch flips in RF's head: just one great draft.....it's sitting right there for the taking.....

 

Again, I thought it would be longer, a few more weeks, but if E is down.....

 

Semin, ironically, probably can't be moved now. But...Ward? E.? Any defenseman not named Sekera or Faulk? Tlusty?

 

Semin? Hopefully he finds some game and can be traded for something closer to the deadline.

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The hockey culture more than any other encourages playing through pain, so when the surgical/therapeutic procedures are complete and the player has been okayed for game action, it's easy to imagine the team leaving the rest to the player.

 

I do think it's an important distinction that this is not "Semin is injured," this is "Semin is recovering from surgery." To my knowledge (and somebody, if you can find one please post a link proving this wrong, but I haven't been able to) Semin never claimed to be "100 percent ready to go." I'm guessing Peters' told him at some point that he needs to find other ways to contribute, and he's been playing one way for so long that the change doesn't come easily to him. 

 

rem, you are 100 percent right on the feeds he made. Those chances missed are on Semin's pass recipients, not Semin - so maybe he is finding a way (finally) to contribute until the wrist gets to 100 percent. 

Edited by top-shelf-1

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I do see signs of life in the last two games. That could be huge. If not to this team, at least to tradability.

 

But as hard as I find it to write, I still think that with a contributing Semin, and if E's injury is (as apparently it is) is minor, this team can still surprise.

 

Have to limit the gaffes and start driving the net more. That and Semin making plays could move the dial from close losses to close wins.

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In the post game press conference, Peters casually mentioned that Semin is struggling with his wrist "a little bit".

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So they let it slip out.

 

If he's struggling w/ his wrist "a little bit" now, imagine earlier.

 

So, E is coming off surgery and never quite right since the knee, J out for the year to date, Semin playing on a badly healing wrist. Ward took two years "off" due to injury and psyche....

 

This team has the names on the paper to be pretty good, but more and more it just seems like it is just not meant to be for this group.

 

I still think it might be a while, but barring a miraculous run, the change is coming.

 

 

I don't know about 'tank'. But for once, IF it ends up breaking that way, for all the pain, lets really find some way to get to the bottom. Get that generational talent. Turn the whole thing around.

Edited by remkin

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Letting Semin play all season with a bad wrist is unacceptable IMO. He's been brutal, and there was no reason to keep putting him out there.

Speaking of other coaching/management issues, weren't we all putting Muller down for having guys like Boychuck and Terry on the fourth line? Well, it's more of the same. Guys are in positions they are not suited for...again.

I like Peters a lot but I'm not on board with where people are being played. Then again, we don't have the type of physical players that are good enough to make up a consistent fourth line. I think overall we failed in this area yet again, and the results are constant line juggling with players in roles they weren't meant for or players being over-slotted.

I guess this is more of a criticism of our lack of depth/too many similar type players (which has been a complaint of mine for years). We failed to address this yet again.

Make no mistake though, I don't want Peters going anywhere.

Still, whoever is responsible for the train wreck that is Semin has some answering to do IMO, whoever that may be.

I am also curious as to why Bellemore isn't playing. I guess he is still hurt.

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FWIW, during Washington game broadcast, after Semin took a penalty, TV cameras showed him in the penalty box with one glove off, rubbing his wrist. Not an excuse for all his woes to be sure, but I did take notice (and he later had a beautiful goal in the game).

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Still, whoever is responsible for the train wreck that is Semin has some answering to do IMO, whoever that may be.

 

 

I think that he is the GM for the Pens.  Maybe there should be a clause in the CBA that says if you are a GM that changes jobs, you have to take your bad contracts with you?

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