January 27, 2011
One of the phrases that stood out in the Washington Capitals announcement of Alex Semin's new one-year deal with the team: "Semin is tied for the league lead with three hat tricks, which came in a 35-day span from Oct. 23 to Nov. 26."
In that span, Semin scored 15 of his 18 goals this season, often looking like an unstoppable offensive force.
And since that span, he's scored one.
Of course, as usual, there are injuries to consider: Semin has been out since Jan. 8 with a lower-body injury, which dates back to mid-December. Whatever the case, he hasn't been himself since the torrid streak that had fans declaring his absence from the All-Star game ballot should be considered a "snub."
There's no question he's nitroglycerine offensively: 40 goals last season and a career best 84 points, and 35 points in 39 games this year. But the fits of invisibility have become as commonplace as his propensity for injuries. That this isn't a long-term contract should come as no surprise to anyone, especially Alex Semin.
Semin, 26, made $6 million against the cap this season and Corey Masisak of NHL.com cites a team source as saying Semin's new deal will earn him $6.7 million.
Will the end of his impending free agency settle him down mentally? Does this contract and cap hit make him more tradable, if the need should arise? GM George McPhee said Thursday that the team was willing to open long-term contract talks with Semin, but the other party wanted a shorter term.
From an interview with McPhee at the start of the season via Japer's Rink, it's clear the GM respects his talent and doesn't blame Semin for the disappearing act he pulled in last postseason:
"No. He played outstanding during the playoffs last season. The fact that the puck didn't make it into the net does not mean that he played poorly. He made 44 shots on goal! I don't think there was a single player in the entire league that made as many shots in a single series of those playoffs. No, he doesn't have to prove us anything."
They, and the fans, know what they're getting in one more season of Alex Semin.