One day after former teammate Troy Brouwer questioned Alexander Semin’s work ethic, Semin’s current teammates came to his defense.
“Honestly I think it was a little unnecessary,” Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal said of Brouwer’s comments. Brouwer said Monday that he sometimes wondered which nights Semin would come to the rink and that it was at times frustrating to play with him.
Semin will face his former team tonight for the first of five meetings this season as the Capitals host the Hurricanes in a Southeast Divisional matchup.
“I would feel betrayed if one of my former teammates said something like that about me,” said Huricanes defenseman Joe Corvo, who also played briefly with Semin in Washington in 2010.
“You're supposed to be a family when you're playing together, and if you got a problem with somebody, say it. Don't say it later.”
Added Staal: “[Brouwer] can have his own opinion, and I can have mine and I've got nothing but good things to say about Alex. I think he's competed hard every practice and every game for us. He continues to prove people wrong. Sometimes you get reputations and you get things like that said about you. But for us, we're teammates now and I've got nothing but good things to say about him.”
Semin signed a one-year $7million deal with the Hurricanes last summer and Staal has been among the biggest beneficiaries.
Staal and Semin have been fixtures on Carolina’s No.1 line since the first day of training camp with Staal ranking among the NHL leaders with 19 points and a plus-11 rating in 17 games.
“You judge a guy when you have him,” Hurricanes coach Kirk Muller said of Semin. “All we’re concerned about is how he’s been since he’s been in Carolina and I can say that he’s been good. Eric I think is really benefitting from him. He’s surprised a lot of guys as far as being a playmaker- a lot of people think of him as being a goal scorer and I think because of that it’s been a lot of fun for Eric because of the style that he plays. They’ve really created a good chemistry together.”
While Muller has been impressed with Semin’s playmaking abilities, he also said that he’s encouraging Semin- a one-time 40-goal scorer who recently notched his 200th career NHL tally- to shoot more.
Semin enters tonight’s game against the Capitals with four goals and 14 points in 17 games, while his plus-10 rating ranks fourth among Eastern Conference forwards.
“I’ve seen him work,” said fellow first-year Hurricane Jordan Staal. “He works hard on both sides of the puck, he wants to win and when you have a guy like that, those numbers are going to shoot up.
“I don’t know where he’s getting this [reputation] from but he’s been working hard and doing a lot of good things. Obviously everyone knows that he’s talented but I think that he does have that work ethic that not everyone sees. He’s a great a teammate; he’s done so many good things for our team and for Eric and opening up [the ice] for him.”
Semin rarely spoke to reporters during his time in D.C., and Tuesday’s morning skate was no exception.
Below is Carolina’s projected lineup for tonight’s game against the Caps:
Chad LaRose – Eric Staal – Alexander Semin
Jussi Jokinen – Jordan Staal – Patrick Dwyer
Jiri Tlusty – Riley Nash – Zac Dalpe
Andreas Nodl – Jeremy Welsh – Tim Wallace
Joe Corvo – Justin Faulk
Jay Harrison – Bobby Sanguinetti
Michal Jordan – Ryan Murphy