Alex Semin Smokes, Russia Loses Its Dang Mind

Ovi and Sam

Alex Semin Smoking. THE DRAMA!!

Alex Semin smoking: THE DRAMA!!

Oh, the off-season.  While the Stanley Cup contenders whittle each other away, we Caps fans are left to look at the Russian media in confusion.  Today’s scrum over Alexander Semin smoking might set the standard for our hockey coverage  between now and September.  So, yay.

Using Fedor Fedin’s masterful translation skills and cultural insider status, we trace this thread to its beginning.  It all started when Ovie and Semin were in Russia before the World Championships.  They were dining at a restaurant when the intrepid and not-at-all-unscrupulous Russian press snapped some photos of Semin smoking a cigarette.  That’s when the insanity began.

CAVEAT: This isn’t exactly Dmitry Chesnokov-caliber journalism.  Let’s have a grain of salt and throw back this tequila shot of “news.”

It’s known that Ovechkin and Semin are party guys and love to hang out during leave in Russia. But it’s also known that Russian head coach Bykov is very strict about discipline.  But if the “sweet pair” from the NHL generates results in Germany, no one will blame them for the behavior violation.

Players came to the base in time– thanks to Ovechkin’s fast car. Despite the night’s adventures, Ovie and Sam [Ed. note – Somehow, “Sam” is Semin’s nickname in Russia] looked vigorous and fit, showing they’re ready to revenge after Vancouver’s shaming in Canada.

But when the Russian twosome arrived in Cologne, the partying did not stop.

After the game against Kazakhstan, [the Russian] team went downtown to a restaurant in Cologne to celebrate Semin’s long-awaited goal. The players’ spirits were high, and some of them even allowed themselves a smoke.

Russian team left hotel in small groups to not attract attention.


Ovi didn’t smoke, but Sam took a  couple of puffs. Vitaly Atyshov and Ilya Nikulin had a smoke break as well.

And after today’s game, Russian coach Vyacheslav Bykov responded to journalists asking about Marlboro-gate:

“Those are clones. Not our guys.  They’re clones. I don’t watch it all… I don’t watch videos, I don’t read the Web. I trust our guys. They know how to prepare to the game.”

Here’s video of his press-conference.  It’s totally in Russian:

Fedor tells us that this is a big deal in Russia.  It’s not a typical thing for an athlete to smoke, and that justifies pounds of ink and megapixels of pixels.

Sitting aloof in our comfy chairs, we find this hilaaaaaarious.  Mostly because we don’t care.  Smoking is terrible for your health (don’t do it, kids!), but Sasha Minor is in awesome shape.  Mischief in moderation isn’t going to ruin his health, especially since he’s skating only 10 minutes a game.  And when even the hard-ass Slava Bykov cracks a joke, we know everything’s cool.

But seriously, clones?

  • A couple things…

    Matching luggage?! WTF

    Um, they wouldn’t let my buddy into Seacrets in OCMD with ripped up jeans like that. Get a pair of pants. This ain’t an effin’ rodeo.

    Russians smoking? Not surprising at all.

  • WashCapsRock

    It is a freakin’ miracle – Sasha actually has on decent clothes! See I don’t care about him smoking either. Dude has had a long couple of months – give him a break!

  • Sarah

    the thing that concerns me most about this is ovi and semin’s matching gucci suitcases

  • WashCapsRock

    @Sarah – you make a very good point!

  • Amy

    Eric, I noticed the luggage too but they are all wearing matching “uniforms” so maybe it’s a team thing? At least I hope so.

    I don’t like to see athletes smoke but, they’re grown-ups so….whatever.

  • Not sure I’ve ever expressed this before, but I love how leathery-looking Bykov is. HE’S EEEEEEEEEEEVILLLL

  • Peter Hassett


    Ditto. It’s like– you trust them to be in great shape, we should also trust them to maintain that however they want.

    Still, smoking is icky. It makes your clothes stink, and it makes you get picked last in pick-up ultimate frisbee games cause you hack and cough a lot.

  • cindy

    Matching luggage and blazers! don’t care…they are all M-A-N and look at Ovi’s thighs!!! Would love a hug from those!

  • WashCapsRock

    Maybe it was buy one get one at the Gucci store that day!

    @Cindy I am with you only I will take Semin thankyouverymuch!

  • Woah. I have so much to say about the top pic. xD

    Matching luggage. Check.
    Nasty acid-wash ripped pants that do not flatter legs. Check.
    Matching blazers. Check.
    Tucked in. Check.
    Gloves in a plastic bag. Check.
    First 3 or two buttons on shirt unbuttoned. Check.
    Man purse/bag thing. Check.
    Tongues of shoes overlapping said pants. Check.

    Yeah. So gansta. 😛

    and smoking. I frown upon. my dad smokes and ughh. Might as well let me take a draft since he has contaminated my lungs so badly! But if he wants to totally smell like ass and die of cancer. Okay. His choice. I hop this is a one-time kind of thing. Or occasional. I don’t care. Haha.
    I think it’s funny that a whole story can be made of one thing. LOL.

  • Greg

    This is brilliant. I really couldn’t care less if any of the Capitals players have a cigarette, I think it’s hilarious this was even brought up by Russian media. The clones line was awesome!

    Maybe Sasha Minor wasn’t smoking in the playoffs at Bruce’s behest and it was messing his mojo up?

  • Hale

    Ovechkin and Semin are averaging 16 +/- min. per game, not 10. Hate the smoking. Hope it’s not a habit here during the season. Seems a lot of Russians smoke. I’ve seen Ovechkin’s dad with cigs. So does Ovechkin live with second-hand smoke?

  • Comunista Simpatico

    Russians make good cigarettes, but bad blue jeans.

  • Camel Joe

    I promise you this is a celebration thing. When you make 6 mil + to take care of your body, you dont mess around. A smoke here and there after a game with a few drinks isnt going to kill anyone.

    They are human…let it go…

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  • Anna

    I think it’s ridiculous that an athlete would smoke even one cigarette. Why would you do that to your body? Obviously Semin isn’t very smart.

    Besides Ovi’s jeans looking like the homeless guy down the streets, maybe he needs to get a little bigger size. Seems slighty tight in the crotch area… Ewwwwwwww

  • Бойтесь 8!

    @Jessica. Pants belt on waist, nyet knees. Nyet gangsta.

  • Peter Hassett


    Smoking is stupid; silly to disagree with that, but…

    We believe in moderation in all things, including– if you’ll excuse the paradox– moderation itself.

  • When my Dad worked in Nyc managing hotels the Capitals stayed one night for a game and I got to hang in the lobby and meet them all when they came in. Al Iafrate was up in his room for 2 minutes, came back down, bought a pack of Marlboro Reds…and then went straight into a bar across the street.

    From my time playing hockey (granted high school and college) a decent amount of players smoked…not a big deal at all in my mind.

  • @Бойтесь 8! I was being sarcastic. 😛 haahah but good point.

    @Anna Muhuhahahhaha. I agree.

  • He could be the type to smoke only when he drinks. Not like that makes it any more acceptable, but it’s a thought…

  • Cookie Monster

    Sasha has been photographed a few times smoking in the U.S., but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Caps PR people have told him to do it out of sight since althletes are “roll models” to kids.

    As for Ovie’s dad, he smokes a lot, but always seems to do it outside not in the car, so he might do the same at home.

    Ovie’s chew habit isn’t any better health-wise, but at least he isn’t contaminating the people around him.

  • AustinSteve

    Don’t think anyone’s going to be stealing Ovi’s gloves at the Worlds…

  • Tattoo groupie

    Semin has been smoking for ages, no new news here.

  • CapsFan1975

    On Semin smoking:

    1) Yes I’d prefer he not do it.

    2) The issue is different if he’s a regular smoker as opposed to an occasional, social smoker. Either scenario is believable. (Hope the latter rather than the former.)

    Sasha, if you’re a regular smoker, please try to stop. I want to enjoy you more — with better health, more stamina, and less vulnerability to every bug going around. And have you alive to see the grand kids grow up.

  • BobbyG

    Sasha smoking isn’t that big a deal really, as long as it’s not a daily habit. I think in this case it’s more a situation of being with Team Russia teammates and relaxing a bit, having a smoke after dinner. I don’t think he’d have the stamina to play hockey for months in the regular season if he routinely smoked.

    Having said that, like Cindy, I much prefer contemplating the sight of Ovie’s thighs and what they are capable of when, you know, relaxing. I’m willing to wager they would be more *ahem* satisfying than a silly cigarette or drink of vodka. I would like to find out for myself though LOL.

  • M


    What the hell do you mean “ew”?!

    I agree with Cindy as well, free hugs for everyone. Or just me, that’s fine.

    Matching luggage lol.

  • BobbyG

    I forgot to address this in my previous post:

    @Anna: I echo what M said. I have absolutely NO problem with the tightness of Ovie”s jeans, in the crotch or anywhere else. The holes in them with the sloppy torn homeless/gangsta look, though, ruins the effect for me. Ovie, with all the cash you have to burn, how about buying something I’d really get off on seeing you in? Just askin’ LOL.

    @Cookie Monster: Ovie has a chew habit??? Since when, and where is it documented? Please say it isn’t so, or else my fantasies about me with him will all go up in smoke. Well, not exactly smoke, but the thought of that stuff on his breath is a big time EWWWWWWW!

  • mcawful

    There’s something I passionately love and hate about Alex Semin, and I just can’t put my finger on it. His constant, unabashed, universal “I don’t give a fuck” attitude about press, the NHL, the English language, his ridiculous collection of European “Two Wild and Crazy Guys” clothing… It’s plainly obvious that he doesn’t give a fuck that he’s drinking and smoking right in front of cameras, and there’s something kind of awesome about that.

    Alex Semin is my number one candidate for celebrity hate sex. He definitely would not disappoint.

  • mcawful

    And anyone disapproving of Ovi’s choice in anything, pants included, is clearly a lesbian.

  • CharlotteM

    I don’t understand what the big deal is? Most of the people in the world smoke and what makes him different from everyone else? Just because he plays hockey?
    He also has a life, and let him enjoy it! He’s got the fame, money, health, he should be letting himself go more often!
    And for some reason, I find it kinda hot. It adds to his “bad boy” attitude, which is so sexy.
    As for the jeans.. please, someone, set those things on fire! You’d think with the money they’re making they can afford nice jeans without any holes in them. They look like they just got out of a blender..

  • Peter

    Most people in the world smoke???

  • yuck

    yuck.. smoking is NOT sexy.. as someone who just had a scarey as hell lung cancer scare for the last six months.. ( I dont smoke)… this makes me what to dump my Semin jersey.. makes me wonder about the regular season rumors about partying too.. I used to love Semin and rabidly defended him but recently.. not so much..If you are an athlete.. you should not be smoking. Also, just FYI.. 10 to 17% of people live through lung cancer and it is the NUMBER ONE killer of women… I am luckly my scare was just a scare.. waiting six months to see if you had an 83% chance of dying wasnt relaxing..

  • yuck

    yeah, Ovi’s chew habit is well documented as well.. My dad also has a chew habit.. he lost his last tooth about five years ago…so..

    (So that was supposed to say want to dump my jersey.. now if I just need to find a player to support…

  • UberCaps

    They always look like that here in DC – if they aren’t wearing suits then it is ripped jeans. These jeans actually don’t look too bad in comparison to some of the piranha attacked jeans they’ve been spotted in!

    And the luggage is Louis Vuitton (not Gucci). Pretty standard for superstar athletes and other celebrities. They’re $4000 rollerbags but I guess they can afford it! I’m surprised they don’t have the duffle bags with them too, I’ve seen pics of them carrying those too!