Sure. Tuesday was a fun night. Andrew Gordon scored his first NHL Goal, Marcus Johansson got his first NHL kiss, and the Capitals offense exploded in a 5-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils. But not everything was rainbows and butterflies. Just ask former Capital and current Vesus analyst Keith Jones, who had this to say about Alex Semin’s play against the Devils on Versus’ post-game show.

“It is interesting. When you look at this Capitals team, [it’s] great to see the workers get the job done. Hats off to those guys. They don’t play a ton, but when they’re out on the ice, they were very effective in this game. Alexander Semin returned from the flu and an undisclosed injury. He might have hurt feelings after watching the tape I roll here.

I just can’t help but do this. Watch #28 in this game. You lose the puck battle in the defensive zone along the boards – not once – but twice. Devils create a scoring opportunity…


Again, it’s #28… Loses the puck battle again. Devils to the front of the net looking for a scoring chance. A couple of big saves by their goaltender…


Semin on the powerplay: turnover right there on the offensive blue line.


Semin stays on the ice for the powerplay: over-extended shift. He goes offsides, and the Devils get the puck.


A 5-on-3 opportunity: Alexander Semin stayed on the ice for the entire two minutes of that chance, and then stayed on the ice for another forty seconds of the 5-on-4. This is the effort at the last of it.


That’s the most effort he demonstrated in two minutes and forty seconds on the ice. Mike Knuble steps on the ice for five seconds at the end of that. Redirects a goal, gets to the front of the net, battles for a loose puck.

That’s the message that Bruce Boudreau has to send. If the Capitals are going to be a Stanley Cup Championship team, they cannot have any passengers. And part of leadership, is taking a player like Alexander Semin, and straightening him out. Video does not lie. The video is there.

The Capitals [were] very good victory tonight. But waaaay more work to do. The leadership has to take over the team. And Alexander Semin has to join in. He has the ability to score goals. That’s perfect. But hard work is something that some players need to push to get to, and Semin is one of those guys.”

  • Peter Hassett

    But Brodeur, who was in the exact same situation health-wise, gets a pass for letting 5 pucks past. Shenanigans.

    Semin was a gametime decision that probably went the wrong way. He’ll be back.

  • Jones is right on here. As brilliant as Semin can be at times, he just doesn’t seem to have the attitude or work ethic needed to help take this team all the way. As evidenced by his total disappearing act in playoffs past am not sure Ovi, BB or anyone else can help him with a much needed attitude adjustment at this juncture. You either have that fire in you – or you don’t.

  • Hale

    So you always take what Keith Jones says as gospel? He was way over the line. I am pretty tired of everything little thing Semin does imperfectly being put under the microscope, without a concomitant look at what he does well in the same game. Anyone else just coming back from an injury, who was a GTD, would be given a big, fat “pass.” I didn’t see any mention of his 2 hits nor takeaways, at least two of which were not accounted for in the official stats, but I saw. Other players lose puck battles all the time, turn over the puck, etc., but rarely are ripped to shreds for it in the same way. Jones often makes moronic and hypercritical statements. How about your own critical thinking instead of regurgitating someone else’s?

  • Peter Hassett

    Hale is right.

    And besides, the guys on VERSUS are so desperate for a continuation of the NHL license, they say inflammatory junk to get people riled up and watch.

    In that way, they’re a lot like us. Except they make money off it and wear suits instead of sweatpants.


    @Hale – Im in 100% agreement with everything you posted. I guess leading the team in goals isn’t enough.

    And what about the video of the Versus panel piling on Mike Green during one of the intermissions for his lack of production? Or pointing out too many times to count the fact Ovechkin has scored 2 goals in 18(?) games.

    The simple fact is that NONE of the “stars” are (consistently) producing – but to single Semin out on his first game post-injury/sickness is gutless. Though considering Sasha Minor seems to be the media’s favorite “whipping boy”, I can’t say I’m surprised.


    PS – did anyone else catch the new Geico commercial with Joe B. and Locker? I loved it!

    Hopefully that one makes it over to CSN ASAP – though honestly I’d take anything to help counteract the Groundhog Day-esque Ameritel triplets and Hadeed carpet spots.

  • red army soldier #1337

    …. as much as i like the guy. He’s got a point. Matty p came back from the flu… rips 2 off in ottawa. No dice gentlemen. Sasha, Ovi,and backstrom along with green, they all must be held to a higher standard, because of the higher output we know they have. There is the need to allow for mistakes… but when you make them night after sasha has… its harder to defend. They’ll learn.. adapt, and be better for it… but as of now.. i have not seen it. Can’t always look to the future…. you’ll miss what’s happening in front of ya.

  • Ian

    @28ISGREAT You mean this video? 🙂

  • Ian

    @Hale – I thought Keith’s analysis was right on. His opinion is mine. I thought Semin was not locked in at all last night and this analysis was worth putting out there for everyone to see. The most interesting part of his comments for me were how he tied Semin’s play in with Boudreau’s coaching. If you don’t have all 12 forwards buying into your game plan, then this is what you get. For me, I’m always trying to find answers for how this team can actually lose, considering how much talent they have. It’s effort, it’s winning puck battles in the corners. And Jonesy shows that to us clearly here. It’s not just the third and fourth liners who must win the little battles. It’s the superstars, too. If Alex Semin wants a big contract, and wants to be treated like a superstar, he needs to be consistent. And evil Sasha was back in full force last night.

  • Hale

    @red army soldier #1337: “but when you make them night after sasha has…” What????? Exactly what I mean. Where’s the “night after night” of good, great, tremendous plays that he also makes? Again, in any game numerous players lose puck battles, so many D fail to clear over and over again, but all we hear about is how Semin lost a puck battle or turned over the puck, without mentioning that he also stole the puck either right before or after that, had a great SOG, made a terrific pass, actually hit someone (!), forechecked/backchecked, etc. Yes, sometimes he tries things and fails, but more often he succeeds and more often those isolated successes go unremarked.

  • Hale

    Ian, you certainly are entitled to your own opinion. For me, it takes away from what I think of as a blog known for some independent analysis for you to just post what Keith Jones, of all people, says as if because he says it, it’s true. He was hostile with it and it was not called for. Semin gets far more critical treatment from certain quarters than do other players of comparable expectations and salary. You, among others, drank the Semin-bashing Kool-Aid a long time ago.

  • Rob

    Great stuff! This is Semin’s MO. He’s brilliant at times but, more often than not, he does exactly what the video shows. That’s why he does not deserve a new contract and doesn’t deserve the inflated salary he’s getting now.

    Some interesting numbers: last year, his 40 goals were scored in 28 games. He had assists in 16 other games, meaning he was pretty much invisible for half the season. Ditto for previous years.

    The proof is in the pudding and it’s no coincidence that GM George McPhee hasn’t addressed Semin’s contract situation yet.

    As I’ve told a few people, if you’re a Semin fan, enjoy this season — because it’ll be his last in a Caps uniform.

  • Peter

    Oh, come on. Ian and Rob, Semin isn’t even healthy. He probably wouldn’t have played last if Fehr weren’t scratched. He’s been more consistent this year (except on goal production) than any of the past 3. Last night was an anomaly.

    Versus’ coverage is often just loudmouth opinion-spouting by people with an agenda for self-aggrandizement. Hale, I agree with you. There’s no actual analysis in this analysis post, just the regurgitation of a commentator with no concept for nuance.


    If the measure of success in coming back from illness/injury is scoring 2 goals, not many people are going to meet those kinds of expectations.

    I just find it curious that neither Nick Backstrom nor Mike Green had an assist or goal last night despite each having more ice time and each of whom were not coming off an injury/illness. And yet for some reason Semin is where the “look who’s not performing” focus is centered on.

    And what are people talking about re: Semin not buying into the system? Right now, he has the same +/- as Backstom and Ovechkin, the most team power play goals, leads the team in goals, and is only 1 point behind Backstrom and 6 behind Ovechkin (despite playing 3 less games). What else does this guy need to do to earn some respect? Get his (admittedly high) PIM down? Fine – but that’s not grounds for singling the guy out when there are much bigger problems to be solved.

    I just don’t understand how Ovechkin, the offensive engine, keeps getting a pass. Maybe the “C” buys him that pass – but this season he’s not hgiving his fans (including me) much ammo against the Crosby camp.

  • barb

    i can accept there are dc fans who will never like semin, if only you could admit that he is held to a different standard than other players.

    i mean this nicely, because i love my caps no matter if they win or lose, but there are other players on this team that are allowed to suck pretty dramatically before they are even remotely chided for bad play. however, semin needs to be pitch-perfect every game, or otherwise he catches heck, gets called lazy and uninterested. the man played for two weeks sick and probably a month injured before sitting out three games and rushing back. i can cut him slack a couple games before i start yelling at him to get his ass in gear.

    so i can admit he’s not perfect, and there are ways he could improve, but the anti-semin dc fans needs to admit they are biased against him no matter how well he does.


    @IAN – thanks for posting that video! I was surprised I only saw it air one time last night! (though with the amount of goals scored – and the beers consumed for each – I probably missed a few due to a higher than normal UIM (urinal in minutes))


    And just because all this Semin bashing has my panties in a knot – I’d like to point out none of this was an issue after his first – or his second – or his THIRD hat trick of the season.

    In fact, when Semin stopped scoring goals (November 28) the team had just one win before the losing streak. Where were Backstrom and Ovechkin then? Hmm? I suppose that’s Semin’s fault too?

  • red army soldier #1337

    Barb: of course we hold him to a different standard. As do we all the (slightly older than the other) young guns. But this was a spotlight on Semin.

    Hale: of course. You are correct. He’s.done great things.. and because we expect it out of him no one notices until he screws up. His brilliance make the imperfections all the more clear.

    And therin lies my problem. He was great. He will be great. He IS not great right now. Of course they are not going to pipe up about backstrom or Ovi when doing a piece about Semin.

    His MO in my opinion is thus: do something freaking amazing… commit a game misconduct crosscheck. HAT TRICK!!!! 3 offensive penalties and a giveaway score. Consistency. Is that so much to ask for?

  • J.P.

    Love Semin, but…. as noted by several others, he doesn’t really have history on his side. Being brilliant occasionally, while flat-out disappearing for long stretches is a recipe for losing. Hard work and consistency go hand-in-hand and this team needs both of those elements from as many as possible to avoid Washington’s annual post-season flameout. Love to see Semin make a consistency commitment this year.
    Look, the entire cadre of our elite players have seemed listless and out of sync more often than not the past month, especially Backstrom. Dude needs to up the energy level, and more importantly, SHOOT the freakin’ puck when the opportunity presents itself. Did everyone notice the audible frustration from the crowd last night during one of the power plays when Backie waffled the puck back and forth for what seemed like an eternity before finally passing it off? He had ample opportunity to snap off a quick shot at a goalie who’d already given up some chip in goals and he didn’t pull the trigger. Sometimes ya gotta just take the shot instead of waiting for the perfect play to develop. There’s no bonus points for being fancy, so let the damn thing fly, already. Okay, mini rant over 🙂
    Big ups to the Hershey contingent, hard workers all of ’em! They’ve probably kept BB out of the unemployment line with their inspired play.

  • TATA

    Сашка ! Возвращайся к нам ! Мы тебя любим ! В России к хоккеистам относятся более уважительно и не позволяют себе такого хамства . Если больной и травмированный игрок неудачно сыграл одну игру , то его подбодрят и поблагодарят за помощь . Не падай духом !

    [Rough translation via RMNB: Sasha! Come to us! We love you! In Russia, hockey players are more respected and not subject to such rudeness. If the injured player unsuccessfully played one game, then cheer and thank him for his help. Do not lose heart!]

  • DarkStranger44

    After all the complaints on Semin’s inconsistency, I decided to do a comparison between him and another player, whose productivity has been roughly equal for the last 2 years (2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons) and not only that, but this particular player is a very beloved player for his team; Zach Parise.

    I counted up the number of games in which they played where they scored a goal, as well as the number of games in which they got a point of any sort, whether goal or assist.

    2008-2009 season


    82 games played
    40 games with goals
    57 games with points

    49% games with goals
    69% games with points


    62 games played
    24 games with goals
    48 games with points

    38% games with goals
    77% games with points

    2009-2010 Season


    81 games played
    31 games with goals
    50 with games with points

    38% games with goals
    61% games with points


    73 games played
    28 games with goal
    47 games with point

    38% games with goals
    64% games with points

    In analyzing the statistics, Parise was more consistent in goal scoring consistency in 2008-2009 than Semin. They were roughly equal in goal scoring consistency in 2009-2010. In both years, Semin was slightly above Parise in the percentage of games where he had a point of any kind. Hence, Semin does not really compare unfavorably to Parise in point scoring consistency for the last two years. Granted, Parise was more durable and is a more disciplined player but this comparison is based on productivity in goals/assists per games played.

  • Lee

    I agree that Semin is not the most disciplined Washington Capitals player – his vented frustration in the form of the cross-check leading to a game misconduct made me cringe. And this was certainly not Semin’s best game. But I don’t think it’s fair to him as a player (and a very good one at that; I don’t think there’s any denying his talent level) to say that because he makes mistakes, he is not trying or pulling his weight on the team. Like everyone else, I would love more consistent results, but I think he is a necessary component to the Capitals’ offense. During this particular game, he was likely not 100% healthy, and made costly errors. But it’s not fair to say that because of this, he is a “passenger.” I certainly don’t consider the leading goal-scorer on a team a “passenger.” I don’t think Semin needs to be told that he didn’t play well against NJ; I would be surprised if he’s not giving himself a hard time for it. But I don’t think it’s our place as viewers to judge how much effort he puts into the game – only Alexander Semin knows that.

  • red army soldier #1337


    Don’t just cherry pick the good. Let’s look at the other statistic that matters: penalty minutes for the two for your two selected years.

    Parise: 24 minutes over 82 games.
    Semin: 77 minutes over 62 games.

    Parise: 32 minutes over 81 games.
    Semin: 66 minutes over 73 games.

    Not the best track record eh?