During TSN’s “Free Agent Frenzy” special on July 1st, a panel including former NHL head coach Marc Crawford and sideline reporter Pierre McGuire lambasted Alex Semin in comparison to Zach Parise. The panel got their paddles out and verbally spanked Sasha thoroughly. Crawford called Semin a “complete loser,” and former player Ray Ferraro labeled any team that might want the former 40-goal scorer as “desperate.” Pierre McGuire capped the discussion by calling Semin a “bad teammate” and the “ultimate coach-killer.”
Crawford, who left for a coaching gig in Switzerland a day after the incident, offered a dubious explanation for his words last week to the German language newspaper Tages Anzeiger, saying that he was “misinterpreted.”
Now, thanks to a great find from reader @zuc0, we have more context on Pierre’s statements– right from the horse’s ass’s mouth. On July 2nd’s episode of XM home ice, McGuire explained why he thought Semin was such a bad teammate.
Host: Pierre, you usually take the high road on most players. We appreciate that. On TSN yesterday, you were honest I thought without taking a shot at Alexander Semin saying that he’s not the greatest teammate and the ultimate coach killer. Do you think anyone’s going to sign this guy? He’s certainly talented. You know that.
Pierre McGuire: I think he’s going to be signed, but I think one of the reasons why he’s been working on one-year deals in Washington the last two years is for that very reason. Outside of Alexander Ovechkin, he didn’t relate real well with his teammates. I can tell ya, there’d be moments during games when he’d be out there and guys would be on the bench and they’d be rolling their eyes, just because he wouldn’t be competing hard enough.
But at the end of the day, this isn’t about character assassination, it’s about telling the truth. The bottom line is, when he was with the Washington Capitals, he may have been one of the most talented players in the league, but it didn’t show up every single night. And that’s a big problem when you’re playing in this league and you’re a highly paid player and one of the top paid players in the entire league. You got to play and show up every single night. If you don’t, you become a major disappointment not only to your fans but your teammates as well.
The Pierre speaking here is not the same guy we heard on TSN on free agency day. He isn’t retracting his original, hyperbolic comments, but he isn’t repeating them either. Instead, McGuire says the Capitals were “rolling their eyes” at Semin on the bench— something only he had the opportunity to see and something at home we can’t substantiate.
It’d be nice to know which Caps players rolled their eyes at Semin and when they did it. It’d be nice to know which talented players actually do “show up” every night and how that could be measured. After all, it’s impossible for a player to give a peak performance every game and unfair for fans to expect it. Still, the perceived ups and downs of a player like Semin gives refuge to scoundrels like McGuire (and allegedly a few Caps) to criticize him.
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