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Wild vs. Hurricanes
Tracking the Storm

Semin a Perfect Fit with Canes

Wednesday, 05.08.2013 / 9:15 AM / Tracking the Storm
By Michael Smith
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Semin a Perfect Fit with Canes
When Carolina Hurricanes President and General Manager Jim Rutherford signed forward Alexander Semin in July 2012, it was seen as a low-risk, high-reward acquisition; Semin was an elite talent, but a year-long contract wouldn’t hamper the Hurricanes in a square-peg-in-a-round-hole situation.

Michael Smith
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As it turned out, Semin was the perfect fit.

Just ask him.

“I’m very happy. It’s not a good season (for the team), but for me, I like playing here,” he said in an English-speaking exit interview. “It’s a good town, a good atmosphere and a good organization. I’m very happy.”

Ask Eric Staal, who waited patiently last summer as the team aggressively pursued a top forward to play beside him. When asked if the team was in a better position this summer as compared to last, he offered a simple and confident, “yes.”

“Our line was effective most nights,” Staal said in his exit interview. “We’re trying to build something that’s going to be consistent and be in the playoffs every single year. I feel like we’ve got pieces and parts there to do that.”

Ask head coach Kirk Muller, who said that Semin, while largely reserved with the media, was one of the most forthcoming behind closed doors.

“We needed a player to play with Eric last year, and we brought in Semin. That gave us our number one line,” he said.

Ask Rutherford, who inked Semin to a five-year, $35 million extension in late March, securing the 29-year-old forward through the 2017-18 season.

“It’s hard to get elite players in this league, and when you look at Alex’s numbers and compare them to the elite players, his numbers season after season are very strong,” Rutherford said shortly after the signing. “It puts an elite player in the lineup for the next five years, and makes a real strong number one line with Eric and Jiri.”

In his first season with the Hurricanes, Semin was a point-per-game producer, with 13 goals and 31 assists (44 points) in 44 games. He ranked second on the team in points, assists and plus/minus (plus-14) and third on the team in shots (150). In his last 26 games alone, he assembled a five-game point streak and two four-game point streaks.

The Canes’ first line of Semin, Staal and Jiri Tlusty combined for 135 points (54g, 81a), and the trio was a collective plus-34. Dating back to the 2008-09 season, Semin is a cumulative plus-106.

“They are good guys. I like playing with them. We understand each other,” Semin said of his linemates. “I understood them from my first practice.”

Though often undisclosed, Semin battled through a few injuries, including a shoulder ailment late in the season that impaired his shooting ability.

“Now it’s better, but it’s a little uncomfortable,” Semin said. “I can’t shoot 100 percent, but I’m playing.”

Semin, who was riding a four-game point streak (3g, 3a) at the time, was sidelined with a concussion for the final two games of the regular season.

“This season is over. We’ll forget this season,” Semin said. “We’ll learn from these losses, but we will try to play next year in the playoffs.”

For Semin, a member of the Washington Capitals for his first seven seasons in the NHL, this offseason came relatively early, as Washington qualified for postseason play in each of the previous five seasons (2007-2012). In 51 career playoff games, Semin has posted 15 goals and 19 assists (34 points).

Semin, a native of Krasnojarsk, will spend his offseason in Russia before trekking back to Raleigh for training camp in September. Next season, he said, will be different than this year.

“We are going to try to win every game. That’s it,” he said with a smile. “Next year is a new season with new emotions. We just want to try to win.”



SCHEDULE

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AWAY
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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 MTL 62 41 16 5 171 135 87
2 NYI 64 41 21 2 205 179 84
3 NYR 60 38 16 6 190 148 82
4 TBL 63 38 19 6 207 167 82
5 DET 61 35 15 11 180 159 81
6 PIT 61 35 17 9 176 152 79
7 WSH 63 33 20 10 184 159 76
8 BOS 62 31 22 9 165 161 71
9 FLA 62 27 22 13 150 175 67
10 PHI 62 26 25 11 164 181 63
11 OTT 59 26 23 10 167 161 62
12 NJD 63 26 27 10 141 164 62
13 CBJ 61 26 31 4 157 191 56
14 CAR 61 24 30 7 142 162 55
15 TOR 62 25 32 5 170 189 55
16 BUF 63 19 39 5 123 212 43

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Faulk 61 12 28 -16 40
E. Staal 56 18 19 -10 37
E. Lindholm 60 11 16 -16 27
J. Skinner 56 16 10 -16 26
R. Nash 58 7 15 -9 22
N. Gerbe 57 7 15 -11 22
V. Rask 59 8 12 -16 20
J. McClement 61 6 12 3 18
J. Staal 25 4 12 -2 16
A. Nestrasil 33 4 10 4 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 17 19 4 .913 2.37
A. Khudobin 7 11 3 .906 2.60