2011-12 Year-End Review: Alex Semin

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There is no defining Alex Semin. Many men have tried and gone mad in the attempt.

This season, though, Matt Bradley helped us out by distilling the thousands of questions about Semin into only one: Does Sasha care? We spent the rest of the season trying to find the answer, helped by scientific bar graphs, endearing drawings, and caps-locked hashtags. Yet here we are in what could be the last few days of Semin’s career with the Capitals, and we still don’t have the answer. Does Sasha really care? Perhaps we’ll never know.

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On July 1st, Alex Semin will become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career. According to his agent Mark Gandler, the Russian winger has no intention of re-signing with the only NHL team he’s ever played for.

“It was good while it lasted,” Gandler told ESPN’s Craig Custance shortly after the season. “With the lack of playoff success, with the direction they are going. They decided to change directions. That’s within their rights. Alex doesn’t fit into that system obviously.”

Semin — perhaps not on the same page as his agent — told reporters at World Championships, “There was no talk at all that I am not going to sign with the Capitals for sure. I have not talked to them about leaving.”

Meanwhile, Semin continues to wear Capitals gear wherever he goes. During the World Championships, he could be seen wearing a Caps hat everywhere, and earlier this week, he did an interview with local Krasynoyarsk TV station Afontovo and wore his favorite Capitals rubber bracelet (shown above).

In that interview with sports anchor Sergei Kuzavkov, Sasha Minor dished about what it was like to score two goals in the gold-medal game of the World Championships, his well-documented struggles with English, and his girlfriend.

Igor Kleyner has the translation below.

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Three guys, one cup. (Photo credit: ria.ru)

On Tuesday afternoon in Moscow, a giant double-decker bus adorned with World Championship logos ambled down Tverskaya Street (Moscow’s version of Broadway). Members of Russia’s championship team, including Capitals superstars Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin, were honored for their third IIHF championship in five years.

After the players waved to fans along the parade route, the bus arrived at its first destination, Manezhnaya Square, and the gold medal winners were escorted to a stage and cheered on by an estimated 4,000 fans. The players shared stories on the mic, a band played (but not this song– bummer), and the team was honored by a few ministers of sport.

Then it was off to their next stop: Novo-Ogarevo– and Vladimir Putin’s summer home.

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Alex Semin: “I’m Waiting For July 1st”

Photo credit: Maria Ananova

After winning gold at the IIHF World Championships in Sweden, soon-to-be UFA Alexander Semin met the media in his hometown Krasnoyarsk. It was actually take two for the press conference, as Sasha had slept through the appointment the previous day, missing it altogether. He didn’t answer his mobile phone when the press tried to track him down, but did answer his house phone eventually, just to say that he had overslept and would not be coming.

Today he apologized, blaming jet lag, and then got down to answering questions. Sport-Express’ Dmitry Uskov transcribed the entire press conference, where Semin talked about whether Ovechkin would be visiting him, whether the KHL is an option for him this summer, and his plans for the future.

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Blood drips down Semin’s forehead. Ouchie.

We thought we’d seen all the casualties of the Russian team celebrating their World Championship win on Sunday, but it turns out there’s one more war wound to document.

Teammate Alex Ovechkin took a spill while helping throw their coach in the air, and Semyon Varlamov took a spill when hoisting the trophy, but Alex Semin actually drew blood.

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Alex Semin has been relatively quiet since joining the Russian national team for the World Championships, recording only assists in his two games played before the final gold-medal round. Semin showed up for Team Russia in a big way today, scoring twice and recording one assist to lead the team to a 6-2 win, securing their first World Championship gold medal since 2009.

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Ovi celebrates his goal. (Photo credit: Championat.com/Getty Images)

Despite allowing the first goal, the Russians dominated the Finns for almost the whole game, winning 6-2. Evgeny Malkin scored a hat trick, while Alex Ovechkin, Denis Kokarev and Sergei Shirokov each added a goal of their own.

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Photo credit: ria.ru

Top-seeded Team Russia defeated Team Norway today with a score of 5-2 to advance to the semifinals of the World Championship being held in Stockholm. Alex Ovechkin and Alex Semin joined their national team on the ice for the first time and had an immediate impact, with Ovechkin scoring the first goal of the night and Semin providing two assists.

Ovechkin broke a World Championships pointless streak stretching back through all five games of last year’s tournament, scoring nearly eight minutes into the game. His tally began with teammate Alex Semin going strong to the net with the puck, allowing the Russian superstar to collect a rebound behind Norwegian goalie Lars Haugen. Ovechkin then knocked the puck in when he attempted to center the puck.

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After the Capitals packed-up their gear and met with management one final time on breakdown day, the 2011-12 NHL season officially ended. But for a few Caps stars, there is still more hockey to play.

The 2012 World Championships — which are being held in Stockholm and Helsinki this year — began on May 4th while the Capitals started their second round series against the Rangers. The Swedish and Russian national teams, both aware that several of their countries’ best players were still playing in the NHL playoffs, held roster spots open just in case those players’ teams were eliminated.

When the Capitals lost in Game Seven to New York on Saturday, it freed up Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin, and Alex Semin to play for their national teams for a select number of games to end the tournament.

On Tuesday, all three players arrived in Stockholm after a long flight and had an eventful day.

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Photo credit: Greg Flume

The final day of media availability is often referred to by reporters as the longest day of the year — and probably the least enjoyable. The news about Dale Hunter deciding to go back to his digs in London created a lot of buzz, and stories were told– like about how Jay Beagle tried to put his skates on over his swollen, broken foot before Game Six. But the general mood was one of somber –- not surprising, given how close the team came to Eastern Conference Finals.

The Capitals have a handful of free agents to deal with during this offseason, but none of them are as high-profile or as controversial as Alexander Semin. Will he bolt for the riches of the KHL, sign with another NHL team –- or return to the Capitals? I didn’t expect a straight answer to the question, so we just talked about… well, whatever he wanted. That includes Hunter hockey vs. Boudreau’s open style, the success of Braden Holtby, and his ice time.

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