Hockey hugs for everybody! (Photo credit: Gary Wiepert)
On Friday night, the Carolina Hurricanes defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-1 at First Niagara Center and one former Washington Capital had a first. Alex Semin, after starting the season with two bad penalties, scored his first goal with the Canes, one of those classic Sasha no-look wrist shots that found the top corner of the net.
The Semin signing was just one reason among many why Carolina Hurricanes fans were optimistic. After a last-place finish in the Southeast division last year, Carolina added Semin to the team’s core of Eric Staal, Jeff Skinner, and Cam Ward, and acquired Eric’s younger brother, Jordan, from the Penguins.
On Saturday, the Hurricanes — projected by many to compete for the Southeast title – got trounced 5-1 by last year’s division champions, the Florida Panthers. In 23:03 of ice-time (6:30 more than his average TOI last year), Semin had one lonely shot on goal and four penalty minutes.
hahahahaha, best friends)))))) (Photo credit: dynamo.ru)
While the NHL and NHLPA race to a January 11th deadline to save the season, we’re reminded how weird future Capitals/Hurricanes games are going to be once/if the lockout is lifted.
Alex Ovechkin and Dynamo Moscow took on former Capital Alex Semin and Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod on Friday. And in Ovi’s first game since getting engaged to Maria Kirilenko, the Russian machine tallied two points, including his 19th goal of the season, the game-winning tally. Dynamo would win 3-1.
Washington Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov has been in North America for parts of just three seasons, but he’s already had four head coaches, two broken noses (okay, the same nose broken twice), and has suffered through a benching that spanned the Caps’ entire 2011-12 playoff run.
Now, during a season Orlov should have started in Washington, he’s back with the AHL’s Hershey Bears, experiencing his first ever lockout.
On the first day of the lockout, Leonid Vaisfeld, general manager of Metallurg Novokuznetsk, expressed his interest in bringing Orlov home. “[Orlov] has a two-way deal,” Vaisfeld told Sports.ru. “So it’s up to Washington if they want to send him to the farm to learn English or let him come here, where I think it would be better for Dima’s development. As far as I understand he just wants to play at home.”
Way back in February of 2011, Orlov negotiated out of his contract with his KHL team to start his professional career early in Hershey. Now, while some of his friends are making big-time money playing in the KHL, Orlov– whose family is still in Russia– is staying the course in Hershey, doing everything the coaching staff has asked of him.
RMNB caught up with Orlov on Saturday before Hershey hosted the St. John’s Ice Caps (for whom Orlov’s best friend Alex Burmistrov plays). RMNB’s Igor Kleyner asked him about the possibility of going home, how his English is progressing, and what it’s like playing under a Hall of Fame coach. We also talked about what it’ll be like to play against his former teammate and good friend Alex Semin.
“Hey! They spelled my name wrong! What gives!” (Photo credit: hctorpedo.ru)
When Nicklas Backstrommade his debut for Dynamo Moscow Monday, he was surrounded by familiar faces. Alex Ovechkin flanked him at left wing on the first line and former teammate Semyon Varlamov was in net for Lokomotiv. Dynamo had no trouble getting over that potential awkwardness however, turning in one of their most solid wins on the year, a 3-0 shutout of Lokomotiv. Ovechkin, who sure was in a punchy mood that day, had a goal and an assist. Backstrom also contributed a helper.
It was only a matter of time before the big guns of the Russian hockey media showed up in Krasnoyarsk, far from a hockey hotbed, to get the full story on why Semin came home. For their trouble, Pavel Lysenkov of Sovetsky Sport and Alexander Rozhkov of Championat.com got personal tours of the city from Sasha on the eve of his debut in the VHL. Semin showed them the rink where he learned to skate, his school, and the apartment building where he grew up.
Semin with children at his former hockey school, Sokol Krasnoyarsk on Sunday. D’awww. (Photo credit: krsksokol.ru)
While many of the Russian NHL superstars immediately signed with KHL teams days after the lockout was imposed, former Capital Alex Semin had a tortoise’s pace in finding a new club. Sasha Minor had been linked to both Sergei Fedorov’s CSKA and the rebuilding Lokomotiv Yaroslavl team, but on Tuesday Semin finally decided who he wanted to play for: an obscure wildcard team in Russia’s minor league.
Sokol Krasnoyarsk – a modest club from the VHL (a minor Russian hockey league similar to the AHL) — announced today that they signed Semin to a season-long contract for the league minimum. During the press conference, Semin explained why he signed on with his hometown team. The reason should have been obvious from the start: Semin wanted his 90-year-old granny to see him play. You can’t make this stuff up.
[Editor's note: Over the next however long, we'll be pondering a few ways to brighten up the hockey world. Sometimes silly, sometimes not: here are our proposals for the 2012-2013 season... whenever that may happen.]
Goals, assists, plus-minus. That’s supposed to be how you tell how good a hockey player is. When a skater’s name pops up on the CSN-Washington chyron, they show goals, assists, and plus-minus. ESPN, Yahoo, and NHL.com place plus-minus among their marquee stats for ranking players. But the more we learn about hockey and statistics, the more we know that plus-minus kind of sucks at measuring talent.
Proposal: This season, let’s throw out the plus-minus stat. In this article I’m gonna tell you why I think plus-minus has gotta go, and I’m gonna pitch a stat to replace it.
In the remainder of Neuvirth’s interview with František Suchan of iSportz.Cz, the Czech goalie shares his honest opinion of pretty much every other big-name Capitals figure. He gives Alex Semin the classic “he could have been the best player in the world, but he doesn’t want to” line; he laments Alex Ovechkin‘s decline but praises his leadership; and he sheds no tears over the exit of Dale Hunter.