ARLINGTON, Va. – Troy Brouwer and Alexander Semin were teammates for all of one season with the Washington Capitals. Apparently that was plenty of time for Brouwer to draw a few conclusions about the Russian sniper.
“Some nights you didn’t even know if he was going to come to the rink,” Brouwer said Monday. “It’s tough to play alongside guys like those because you don’t know what you’re going to get out of them.”
Brouwer’s comments come as the Capitals prepare to face Semin and the Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night at Verizon Center for the first of five meetings this season.
Semin signed a one-year, $7 million deal with Carolina last summer after spending seven seasons with the Capitals.
The 28-year-old was an enigmatic figure with the Caps, capable of scoring highlight reel goals in bunches one night only to take costly penalties the next. Semin rarely attended optional practices, declined interviews with the media and in recent years started to have his work ethic questioned by former teammates.
Brouwer said it can be frustrating to see a player with tremendous raw talent, but work ethic shortcomings.
“I know there are a lot of guys that work really, really hard to get where they are playing in the NHL, and some guys it’s a little bit easier because of their skill-set. Every player’s different, every attitude is different and every personality is different. That’s why the world is the way it is.”
Semin was a six-time 20-goal scorer with the Capitals from 2007-12, but his productivity peaked in 2009-10 with career-highs of 40 goals and 84 points. He followed it up with 54 points in each of the last two years.
“It was tough to lose his scoring ability when he wanted to play,” Brouwer said. “But all in all I think we’ve been doing well without him.”
Semin is fifth all-time in franchise history with 197 goals and he is Washington’s 14th all-time leading scorer with 408 points in 469 games.
“Obviously you’re going to miss a player of that talent,” defenseman Karl Alzner said, “but I think we filled the hole that we did have. If we could have him on our team still, that’d be a bonus for us, but we’re not that fortunate.”
Among Semin’s biggest supporters during his tenure with the Capitals was his countryman and team captain Alex Ovechkin. They remain in touch, Ovechkin said, about once a week.
“He read the game, he can pass the puck well he can shoot it and I like playing with him,” Ovechkin said. “Sometimes I miss [him]. Right now I don’t have any Russian [teammates] who speak [my] language.”
Ovechkin added that he isn’t surprised to see Semin succeeding in Carolina, where he has four goals and 14 points in 17 games. Semin’s plus-10 rating is also second best among Eastern Conference forwards.
Ovenchkin expects Semin to have a big game Tuesday night.
“He [will] just want to show up and tell them like it was a mistake. Every normal player will do it. I think it’s going to be good night for both teams tomorrow.”
Catch the Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes Tuesday night at 7:05 on Federal News Radio, WFED 1500AM and online at WFED.com Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 p.m.