On Tuesday, former Capitals 40-goalscorer Alex Semin spoke to Championat’s Darya Tuboltseva. He answered questions about his move to graduate school and how he hopes he lands a contract offer from the NHL or KHL soon.
He also was asked about some of his past detractors in the NHL such as NBC’s Pierre McGuire.
“This is not a great teammate,” McGuire said on July 1, 2012 when Semin was an unrestricted free agent. “I’ll tell you that right now, not a good guy to have around your group unless you have unbelievably great leadership and rely on that. He’s the ultimate coach killer, that’s what he is.”
Semin, who signed a one-year deal that summer with the Carolina Hurricanes, admitted he had heard about the quote.
“Honestly, I don’t even know what he was thinking about. I don’t even care about things like that. That’s what sports commentators do: they speak loudly to attract an audience.”
Semin, who has had falling outs with teammates (Matt Bradley, David Steckel, Troy Brouwer) and several different franchises, was also asked if he took nights off and freelanced from coaching staffs’ game plans.
“I don’t agree with that at all,” Semin said. “I would not have gotten where I am now, if I didn’t follow the coaches’ instructions. If I just played the way I wanted to, I never would have made it onto such high-level teams. Why would anyone need me if I just did what I wanted?”
The rest of the interview follows
Would you ever consider returning to the NHL?
Alex Semin: “My agent is handling all of the offers, [but] everything is still being negotiated. I would like to return to the NHL, given the chance.”
Do you watch hockey on TV?
Alex Semin: “Yes, I often watch in the evening with my son, he likes hockey.”
As I remember, you were never able to win the Stanley Cup when you were in the NHL. Do you regret that?
Alex Semin: “After all the time that I played in America, I have no complaints. Everything was good for me [there]. I played a lot, I tried hard, and the seasons were great. It is what it is. I wouldn’t want to change anything, and thinking about what could have been doesn’t make any sense. You can’t bring it back.”
What was the best line of all those that you played on? In Washington you played with Ovechkin and Zubrus, and with Ovechkin and Backstrom, and in Carolina you played with Tlusty and Staal.
Alex Semin: “Every line was great in its own way. The Ovechkin-Zubrus-Semin line was great. But out of all of them I’d single out the Ovechkin-Federov line; that was the peak of my career. The “Russian Troika,” there was nothing bad you could say about it. It was good with Backstrom, too.”
Do you still root for Washington when you follow the NHL?
Alex Semin: “I have an interest in the teams I used to play for. It doesn’t happen that I played somewhere and then just forget about the club. It’s always interesting to see what happens with the team. I keep in touch with the guys, and we exchange news.”
At some point the owner of the Capitals, Ted Leonsis, said you were more talented than Ovechkin.
Alex Semin: “There are as many opinions [out there] as there are people. I just do my job, I’m not a fan of comparing myself to another player, or of trying to comment on someone else’s thoughts. I step out on the ice and do whatever I can.”
According to other commentators, you weren’t ready to perform your assignments fully.
Alex Semin: “I don’t agree with that at all. I would not have gotten where I am now, if I didn’t follow the coaches’ instructions. If I just played the way I wanted to, I never would have made it onto such high-level teams. Why would anyone need me if I just did what I wanted?”
Are we ever going to live to see the Capitals win the Stanley Cup?
Alex Semin: “Good question, of course [laughing]. I root for Washington every year, but [every year] it’s never enough. It’s tough to say what’s missing. The team has such strong players, but it never works out.”
Translation by Graham Dumas.
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