Midway through his sixth season with the Washington Capitals, Alex Semin has once again struggled with consistency. At times he’s dazzled fans, providing three hat tricks in the first third of the season. At other times he has fizzled, such as his current ten-game goalless streak. But when Semin is on, the Capitals are a very difficult team to beat.
With many fans wondering what the future holds for the enigmatic 26-year old, RMNB’s Igor Kleyner brings us a translation of an article from RIA on December 22nd. In it, RIA’s Denis Voroshilov grills Sasha Minor on his pending free agency, if he likes playing in North America, and the Capitals’ current play. Check it out.
Denis Voroshilov – The American media often refers to you as the better Alex on the Capitals. Some say that given the improvement in your productivity, you may end up leaving the team, as they simply won’t be able to afford your salary. Is it possible that your stats will end up working against you?
Alex Semin – I don’t know. When people look at it, both Ovechkin and I simply go out there and play, and do our job. We both enjoy it. I don’t think about the contract, as that is the agent’s business. I don’t concern myself too much with it. It’s just the media stories. If the team is interested, everything will be fine.
DV – How big of a factor is money for you? Would you possibly take less to play for another team?
AS – I am not thinking about that. If and when it comes up, I’ll deal with it. I like everything here, and I would not like to leave. It all depends on the negotiations between the team and my agent.
DV – What can Ovechkin surprise you with these days?
AS – I don’t even know. Probably nothing. I have known him for a long time. I am not going to say anything. Who knows? ::turns to Ovechkin who is walking by:: Ovi, can you surprise me?
Alex Ovechkin – Right now? Me? Surprise you? ::both laugh::
DV – Center Nicklas Backstrom wanted to stay with the Capitals and lowered his salary demands. Are you ready for such a step? Does it make sense for you? Have you developed strong bonds with the team?
AS – I’ll say it again. I like everything here: the team, the coaches, the owner, the GM, everything. I would like to stay. We’ll see what they offer me. Maybe everything will be agreeable, and I will not have to think about anything.
DV – What is the difference between the regular season, where the Capitals have been very successful, and the playoffs, where your team often fails?
AS – The regular season is just a regular season. We need to use it to work on certain things like the power play. You cannot make a mistake in the playoffs, however. You have to be 100 percent. You have to be more responsible.
DV – Who invented the hard hat trophy, which is given to the team’s hardest working player after each game?
AS – I think it was Chris Clark. He brought the idea over from Calgary. They had just made it to the Stanley Cup Finals. That’s where it came about.
DV – Why was your linemate Tomas Fleischmann traded to Colorado? How has the Capitals’ system changed as a result?
AS – That is not a question for me to answer. How did our game change? I don’t think our game is affected by one person that much. There is more than a couple of people on the team.
DV – At one point during the season, you and Ovechkin ended up playing on the opposite wings? How do you respond to that?
AS – Yes, it happened. The coach tries us in different positions. When I came here, I was a left wing, but then they moved me to the right. It felt awkward at first, but now it is no big deal.
DV – Do you often take penalties that affect the outcome of the game? What is the cause? Emotions? Or the play of your opponents?
AS – Hockey is a game, and no one does anything like that on purpose. Sometimes it happens: Maybe I’ll grab someone, or something else. It all happenes, but that’s the game. You either score, take penalties, or you don’t. If you just skate around and avoid touching anyone, what kind of hockey would that be?
DV – You already have three hat-tricks this season, two of which are against Tampa. Why do you dislike the Lightning?
AS – It’s nothing personal. It’s just luck, and most importantly, my teammates. Nothing would happen without them.
DV – You and Ovechkin used to listen to Basta. How about now? Have you kept the tradition?
AS – Actually, the music player in our locker room is broken. They are supposed to install a new one. We do listen to just about everything.
DV – A lot of professional athletes who are Russian are forced to train abroad because of the lack of training facilities in their home country. Do you think the situation will change due to the upcoming Olympics in Sochi?
AS – It depends on the government. The more facilities that are built, the better it will become for our sport. How many years will it take? That is not a question for me to answer. I don’t play there. But the sooner it happens, the better.
DV – How has your relationship with America developed? Do you want to keep playing here, or are you looking at other countries?
AS – For me it’s either America or Russia. So far, I am satisfied with everything here. I have a contract, and frankly, I don’t discuss this subject with anyone.