Photo credit: Nick Laham
We’re saying goodbye to Alex Semin this weekend. After seven seasons with the Washington Capitals, Sasha will become a free agent at noon on Sunday. Think of it as tribute to the man or maybe just as part of the grieving process, but we’ve rummaged through the archives and picked out our favorite Alex Semin moments on RMNB.
We hope that this little stroll through the recent history will help you say goodbye to Sasha Minor in the best way possible. Will you get misty-eyed? Maybe. Will you marvel at his preternatural hockey skills? It could happen. Will you shake your head incredulously? Yup, definitely that.
So pour yourself something with ice in it and let’s hop in the wayback machine.
Alex Semin Hurts Himself With His Own Gold Medal, May 5, 2012
Sasha has jewelry issues, we’ve learned. Upon winning the gold medal at worlds, Alex reasonably put the medal around his neck over his jersey. So far, so good. But when he took off his jersey in the locker room, he kept the medal on. Pulling the jersey over his head, the medal wacked him in the forehead, drawing blood.
I’m sure there’s something poetic and profound here, but I’m too busy giggling to articulate it.
Alex Semin Breaks His Necklace, Throws Hissy Fit, October 9, 2011
The Caps won an early-season battle with Carolina, but not without casualties. Semin gave Bryan Allen a nasty hit that resulted in a melee. The chain on Semin’s necklace broke in the scrum, and Sasha had to serve his penalty without his favorite bauble. The photos of Semin sheepishly handing the broken thing to Alex Ovechkin before entering the box are priceless.
Alex Semin is notorious for being averse to press. He doesn’t speak English (or so they say…) and is kind of shy. Nonetheless, RMNB’s intrepid Igor Kleyner spoke to the man twice a few months back to get the scoop on all sorts of Sasha drama. In Part I Semin spoke candidly about getting shut down by Henrik Lundqvist and his newfound dedication to defense. In Part II we learned that Semin was quite comfortable with the Hunter Hockey system and thought Braden Holtby was a stud.
Alex Semin Clinches the Playoffs, March 5, 2012
For the first time in forever, the Caps didn’t have a jaunty stroll to the playoffs this past season. With just two games left in the regular season, the Caps had their backs to the wall, which is apparently how Semin likes it. Alex scored a backhander on Florida’s Jose Theodore to give the Caps the lead and ensure a life beyond the 82. To celebrate, Semin slammed his chest into the glass and collapsed to the ice like how I image Wile E. Coyote might.
Alex Semin Has Existential Crisis During a Stop in Play, March 19, 2012
Not really sure what to say here. Alex Semin just sorta spaced out in a game against the Red Wings, and the cameraman just sorta zoomed in on it. It was weird, even for Sasha. If this was like a peek into his mind, it was deeply disturbing.
Alex Semin’s Huge Open Ice Hit on Alex Burmistrov, March 16, 2012
When you think Alex Semin, you don’t think “devastating open-ice hits.” You probably just think, “that guy loves golf carts” or “He’s like a human Care Bear.” But hit he did on March 16, pivoting behind Alex Burmistrov and shaking his countryman off his back with ease. Seeing him compete like this from time to time is probably why fans and critics expected so much more of him.
Some think Alex is a no-nonsense guy, a serious hockey maven with no tolerance for silliness. These people are wrong. Those who frequent Kettler for Caps practice have seen the wacky side of Sasha. Even when the team was in the pits, Alex Semin found levity. First he harassed Mike Green in a sequence of events that should be written up in his HR file, then he stalked a recuperating Nick Backstrom in a failed attempt to spray him with his water bottle. Hey, at least someone was having a good time this season.
Alex Semin Dives Face-First to Block a Shot, February 12, 2012
Semin’s reputation says he doesn’t care about defense. While his stats belie that, we’ve also got special moments like this one to put Alex’s reputation is beyond reproach. New York’s Brian Boyle came storming into the Caps zone, but Sasha defused the attack by throwing his lovely mug right in front of the shot. Coach Dale Hunter later said of Semin’s play, “Battle battle hockey play hockey play battle battle.”
RMNB’s resident artist Rachel Cohen is a craftsman in all media. After designing the stunning Sasha Cares tee (still available for a limited time), Rachel built an actual, huggable, stuffed bear for Alex Semin. The scruffy hair and freckles are a nice touch, but what really seals it for me is the necklace. Just perfect.
Frost/Nixon, Part II: Jill Sorenson Interviews Alex Semin, September 2011
The kerfuffle about Matt Bradley‘s comments (see below) threatened to suck up all the oxygen in DC for a time. Semin mounted a PR effort to counteract the damage, but little did he know he’d run into CSN’s hard-hitting Jill Sorenson, who grilled Semin relentlessly on the comfort of his footwear and whether or not he’d smile. Warning: this high-tension interview might be upsetting to our more sensitive readers.
The Sasha Cares Bar Graph, August 17, 2011
This is pretty much the reason RMNB was invented. After Matt Bradley accused Alex Semin of not caring, we had to react. We hit the books, crunched some numbers, and erected a series of bar graphs that captured the world’s imagination. Whatever, it was summertime and we needed content. Sasha came through for us, and that’s why we love him. If you’re wondering how Alex Semin feels about Burger King and Rosetta Stone, wonder no more; we’ve got you covered.
The Sasha Index, June 6, 2011
How do you measure a problem like Sasha? Neil Greenberg answered that question by inventing a totally new metric, The Sasha Index, to determine exactly which version of the janusian Sasha we see each game. The twist: The Caps with Good Sasha win almost 70% of their games. With Bad Sasha, they win just over 40%. That our team’s fate was inextricably tied to the kid’s volatility for so long is the reason many of us have high blood pressure now.
Alex Semin Fulfulls Will’s Wish, April 6, 2011
Alright, I’m gonna try to get through this without choking up. William Shannon, a young Caps fan with leukemia, spent a weekend with the Caps last year. William’s wish was capped off when Semin hoisted him up on the ice and presented him with a signed jersey.
Alex Semin Smoking Habit Ignites Figurative Firestorm, May 13, 2011
The Russian press did not take well these paparazzi photos of Alex Semin smoking in Russia before Worlds back in 2011. After a series of articles criticizing the team, Russian coach Vyacheslav Bykov had to give a genuinely absurd interview to dismiss the story. The moral of the story: don’t smoke, kids! It’s stinky, and your skin will look way older than you are.
Bonus revelation: this is when we learned that people in Russia call Alex “Sam”. Still don’t really understand that one.
There’s so much more we could say. Our site has pretty much been a living history of Alex Semin. We encourage you just to surf back through the Alex Semin tag and unearth whatever gems you can. And please, share your favorite Sasha memories in the comments below.
It’s gonna be a tough transition, but we’ll get through it together.