Five minutes into a heavy-hitting first period between the Washington Capitals and Winnipeg Jets, Alex Semin did something very un-Semin like. Sasha Minor stepped up and caught fellow countryman Alex Burmistrov with an impressive open-ice hip check, nearly flipping the young Russian head-over-heels.
It’s just another example of Semin’s transformation as a player this season, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed by his teammates. On Wednesday when Matt Hendricks went on NHL Live, he said of his cohorts, “this group has a lot of resolve right now and is buying into [Dale’s] system. You see Ovechkin trying to block shots now, Alexander Semin trying to block shots now. That probably wasn’t in their game three or four months ago. I think everybody’s trying to button down in this defensive style.”
Which begs the question: who here thought before this season that we’d see Alex Semin diving face-first to block shots and hip checking his opponents? Not I.