The Alex Semin conundrum
Alex Semin is kind of an odd duck. He seems to be pretty quiet, keeping to himself and only opening up to his teammates a little in recent seasons. He’s incredibly skilled, but is often accused of not applying himself. And of course, you may have heard that he’s a little streaky.
But until now, we never had quite this impressive an illustration of just how streaky Alex Semin is. Semin has 21 goals on the season, 12 of which (that’s over half, people) came as part of hat tricks. I think that’s pretty ridiculous, but let’s see what else we can dig up.
Only once this season has Semin scored a goal in either the game before or after one of his four hat trick performances. Before Wednesday night, Semin had just two goals on the road, and had gone 17 games – since November 28th – without a goal at all.
There have been 58 hat tricks in the NHL so far this season, a large number of which were scored by players with multiple hat tricks this season. Buffalo’s Drew Stafford has four, just like Semin. But even with just three more goals on the season, Stafford’s game log looks more consistent than Semin’s.
So how do you solve a problem like Alex Semin? There are a few options. One is to play Semin on a line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom. Though the so-called SOB line is skilled and fun to watch, I’m not sure it’s so prolific that it is worth what it costs the team in depth.
The second option for trying to resolve Semin’s streaky tendencies lies in the elusive second line center that everyone loves to talk about. If I were George McPhee, chemistry with Semin would be foremost in my mind in selecting someone to trade for. Then again, Semin has good chemistry with the rapidly improving (and already impressive) rookie Marcus Johansson, so if you’re a believer in keeping those two together, or you aren’t drinking the we-need-a-2C-at-the-trade-deadline kool-aid, move on to option three.
Option three is simply to plan around Semin’s unreliability. Figure that nights when Semin shows up and scores three goals are nights you’ll win the game, so he singlehandedly will win you a handful of games per year. But know that on any given night, you have to plan on getting your goals from elsewhere. In a lot of respects, the more defensive style Boudreau is adopting fits this option in that it doesn’t demand huge scoring numbers from anyone (though I do believe we may have taken that to an extreme).
The truth is, you don’t pay a guy like Alex Semin the big bucks to show up in a big way a handful of times a season. So, particularly given that Semin signed a contract to stick around for another year, what do you think is the best way to maximize that investment?
| February 18, 2011; 2:22 PM ET
Categories: Capitals, Nicole Weissman | Tags: Capitals, Nicole Weissman
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Posted by: duckyjimpond | February 24, 2011 1:19 AM | Report abuse