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Tracking the Storm

Semin Arrives in Raleigh

Saturday, 01.12.2013 / 3:00 PM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Semin Arrives in Raleigh
Alexander Semin stepped onto the ice as a member of the Carolina Hurricanes for the first time on Saturday, as he joined just more than 10 of his new teammates for what potentially was the final day of informal skates before training camp.

Michael Smith
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Semin, signed to a one-year, $7 million contract by the Canes on July 26, left his KHL team earlier this week to return stateside. After spending seven seasons with the Washington Capitals, Semin, 28, finds himself in a new dressing room for the first time in his career.

“Everything so far is good,” Semin relayed in Russian through his agent, Todd Diamond. “Everything is new – the team, the area, the teammates. But so far, everything is positive.”

The Krasnoyarsk, Russia, native was admittedly a little rusty on his English, citing the “long summer.” But he’s not rusty on his game, as he logged 20 matches with Torpedo of the KHL during the work stoppage.

“I feel good. I’m ready,” he said. “I’m as close to game shape as I could possibly be.”

That’s good news for the Canes, as Semin adds a lethal scoring threat to the team’s top-six. In 469 career regular-season NHL games, Semin has scored 408 points (197g, 211a). He posted a career year in 2009-10 with 40 goals and 84 points, and he’s one of just 18 NHL players to average at least 30 goals over the last six seasons.

Of any team, the Hurricanes know his tendencies all too well. Washington and Carolina are regular opponents, facing each other six or more times per season since the 2004-05 work stoppage. In 41 games against the Canes, Semin recorded 27 goals and 18 assists (45 points), his most successful stat line versus any team in the league.

“I’ve played against them (Carolina) many times, so I know the style they play,” he said. “I met with Kirk Muller, and Kirk told me he really likes the way I play and my style. He thinks it’s going to be a really good fit, and everybody is really excited to see how it’s going to go.”

Semin, who is a plus-65 in his career and ranks fifth among NHL players with a plus-92 over the last four seasons, is only personally familiar with defenseman Joe Corvo, as the two were teammates in the spring of 2010. But chemistry isn’t a chief concern, even though the left-winger will only have a brief period of time to acclimate himself to the team and its style of play.

“I’m the only Russian here, but I’m not 20 years old,” he said. “I’ve played many years, so I’ll be able to get along with the guys.”

The Hurricanes have done their homework on No. 28, as well. In addition to employing a broad spectrum of analytics, President and General Manager Jim Rutherford said in a July press conference that the front office reached out to as many people possible who had crossed pathers with Semin. The impression? The positives much outweighed any scarce negative experience.

Following a discussion with his parents, Semin, who the Canes had targeted since day one of free agency, agreed to the one-year deal with his former division rival. The subsequent visits the team will make to Semin’s old stomping grounds, he said, won’t be as strange as one might think.

“We’re hockey players. It’s our chosen life,” he said. “One day a guy is your enemy, and the next he’s your best buddy.”

Asked if he had any personal goals for the upcoming season, especially considering the short term of his contract, Semin said he was going to do what he could to score as much as he could. Simple enough.

And he’s ready to jump right in. Playing no exhibition games is fine by him, he said.

“I like that,” he said in clear English. “I want to just play games.”



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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 64 41 18 5 172 142 87
2 NYR 63 39 17 7 197 155 85
3 NYI 65 41 21 3 207 182 85
4 TBL 65 39 20 6 213 171 84
5 DET 62 36 15 11 182 160 83
6 PIT 63 36 18 9 182 158 81
7 WSH 65 35 20 10 193 162 80
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 64 28 23 13 156 181 69
10 OTT 62 28 23 11 176 167 67
11 PHI 64 27 25 12 170 186 66
12 NJD 64 27 27 10 144 165 64
13 TOR 64 26 33 5 173 195 57
14 CBJ 63 26 33 4 163 201 56
15 CAR 62 24 31 7 144 167 55
16 BUF 64 19 40 5 123 215 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 62 12 28 -18 40
E. Staal 57 18 20 -12 38
E. Lindholm 61 11 16 -18 27
J. Skinner 57 16 10 -17 26
N. Gerbe 58 7 16 -10 23
R. Nash 59 7 15 -10 22
V. Rask 60 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 62 6 13 3 19
J. Staal 26 4 12 -4 16
A. Nestrasil 34 4 11 4 15
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 20 4 .911 2.43
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .905 2.61