Gregg Forwerck

Photo credit: Gregg Forwerck

The Washington Capitals got rocked by Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Thursday looked like more of the same until Alex Ovechkin threw the team over his husky Russian shoulders and carried them kicking and screaming into the W.

This one could have gone very different. It’s good to know your Capitals can still surprise you.

Caps beat Canes 3-2.

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Photo credit: Boston Police Department

If the Washington Capitals were this bad last year, and the only thing that kept them afloat was Dale Hunter’s coaching, I feel like I’d owe him an apology. On Tuesday, instead of watching NCIS: Los Angeles, starring LL Cool J and Robin from Batman Forever, we all watched the Carolina Hurricanes mollywhomp the Caps. It was just wretched hockey, the kind so intolerable you’d think it’d inspire change in the organization. You’d think.

It was bad. It was really bad. How bad? Joe Corvo scored. Yeah. That bad.

Canes beat Caps 4-0.

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AP Photo/Ted Richardson

AP Photo/Ted Richardson

[Doug Johnson of the PuckBuddys is back! And he has this preview. Yet another preview. Which, for the record, he doesn’t need to do, he just chooses to do. He could stop at any time. Really. Just this one more. Go be co-dependent with him here.]

Morning Skate: Well fiddle-dee-dee. No sooner do we air out the Rangers’ stank from Verizon than the hillbillies from Hooterville return, bringing with them an undiscovered country of smell. Yes y’all, the Carolina Hurricanes are blowing back in, bringing with them their corn-pone, possum caps, crystal meth and Alex Semin, in something like that order.

Of course “stank” is something we all got a heapin’ helpin’ of this weekend. Must we really bring it up again – the juvenile penalties, the evaporating puck-management skills, John Tortorella’s stupid fat face? Apparently, yes.

Just what is happening in hockeyville? What is at the root of this existential struggle? I was contemplating this conundrum when a colleague at work asked me about the loud whooshing in the vent above my desk. “Is it blowing or sucking?” he asked.

Exactly.

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Alex Semin’s Return to DC in 28 Photos

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Photo credit: @SuzanneKang

For the first time in 290 days, Alex Semin, the 5th greatest goal scorer in Washington Capitals history, was back in his old barn. Now wearing visitors white, the 28-year-old forward was booed each time he touched the puck. Despite four shots on goal, Semin finished the game without a goal.

Here are my 28 favorite Semin-related photos from the night.

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Happy Sasha. (Photo credit: @megab23)

Ahead of tonight’s reunion game against the Caps, Alex Semin sat down with Carolina Hurricanes color guy Tripp Tracy for a two-part English interview. It’s totally awkward.

For those worrying Tripp would nail Semin with incisive, hard-hitting questions like “Are your shoes comfortable?“, you may now relax. Instead, Tracy tossed up softballs like “What do you think of your teammates?” and “Do you enjoy Carolina?”

Hey, you guys don’t think there was any collusion between Tracy and Carolina PR following Troy Brouwer’s unkind words, do you? Naw! Tracy probably came up with “your teammates are clearly the most important relationship to you” all on his own.

With immense thanks to welshhockeyfan and Tom Kaz, videos and transcript are below.

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[Ed. note:Today, the latest member of the PuckBuddys team hits the ice. Jason Rogers currently hangs his hat in Virginia, has studied in Paris and worked in China (always one step ahead of Interpol). But where ever he is in the world he’s a Caps fan through and through. He knows the game and we’re not holding that against him. Jason currently sports #8 – and the “C” – playing center for the Manassas Sperm Whales. Srsly. Give him a follow on twitter.]

Morning Skate: Well, Saturday’s game against the Devils sure was fun to watch, no? Alex Ovechkin bowled a Magician, and the whole team clearly ate their morning Oates with breakfast. It was a real big-boy win against the defending Eastern Conference champions for this Caps team, and like a really nice yard with an unmarked septic field, hopefully something they can build on. Today, Southeast Division rival Carolina Hurricanes blow into town like a hot, smelly belch from the South. I hope they brought illegal fireworks.

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Alex Semin Takes a Puck to the Face, Stays in Game

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Photo credit: Jamie Kellner.

During Saturday night’s game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning, Alex Semin took a puck to the face.

Relax: he’s fine, and his face is mostly in tact.

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Meanwhile, Alex Semin is Still Doing Stuff Like This

While the Caps are losing thanks to penalty and possession problems, Alex Semin (3 goals, 8 assists) is prancing around North Carolina doing unspeakably pretty things with hockey pucks.

For example, check out this gorgeous pass from Semin to Jiri Tlusty on the Canes’ way to a 4-3 loss to the Jets. In the video above, Semin makes a blind pass through Anthony Peluso’s legs to find Tlusty right at the goal mouth. Uncanny.

The Canes currently lead the Southeast Division, Alex Semin is averaging just .8 penalty minutes per game, and the Caps have a 4.5% chance of making the playoffs. On the bright side, it is 34 degrees and rainy in Raleigh today.

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Alex Semin celebrates his first goal with the Carolina Hurricanes

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.

Video is below the jump.

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Alex Semin takes a penalty in his first game back with Carolina

Same Sasha, different jersey.

Over the summer, after playing 469 games and scoring 197 goals for the Washington Capitals, Alex Semin moved on, signing a one-year, $7 million dollar deal with division rival Carolina. Despite scoring the lowest number of goals (21) since his rookie year (10), Semin got a $300k raise from the Hurricanes.

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.

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