Capitals stir pot ahead of showdown with 'Canes
Posted February 26, 2013
Compared to other professional sports, where athletes don’t hesitate to air grievances through the media or call teammates out on Twitter, hockey is a bit of an outlier.
Most players and teams go about their business in between games and handle any smoldering beef on the ice.
Based on the comments he made about Hurricanes forward Alexander Semin Monday morning, it appears Washington Capitals right wing Troy Brouwer did not get the memo.
“All in all, I think we’ve been doing well without him…some nights you didn’t know if he was going to come to the rink,” Brouwer, a teammate of Semin’s last season, said. “It’s tough to play alongside guys like those, because you don’t know what you’re going to get out of ‘em.”
Based on 2013 results, perhaps the Caps – who are currently at the bottom of the Southeast Division with 13 points – could use Semin’s production. His 14 points (4G, 10A) would put him in a tie for second on Washington’s roster behind Mike Ribeiro.
The reputation Semin earned in seven seasons with the Caps isn’t going away, based on Brouwer’s comments, but in 17 games with Carolina (9-7-1) Semin has been far from enigmatic.
He’s been a team-first playmaker on the top line with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty, the player responsible for dozens of scoring chances and one behind-the-back, between-the-legs pass that still has people shaking their heads.
Nearing the halfway point of his one-year contract with the Hurricanes, Semin has shown he’d be worth a long-term extension.
Tuesday’s matchup with the Capitals (6-10-1) was going to be exciting, regardless, given Semin’s history with the city and the team, but Brouwer’s comments took things up a notch or two. It’s a good thing, too, since Semin has such a motivation issue.
Lineup changes continue
On the ice, two new faces (sort of) will join Semin and Co. for the first of three games in the next six days.
The ‘Canes announced Monday that forward Zac Dalpe and defenseman Marc-Andre Gragnani were recalled from the AHL’s Charlotte Checkers and returned Andreas Nodl and Mikal Jordan.
Dalpe returns to the Hurricanes after spending three weeks with the Checkers. He tallied eight points (5G, 3A) during that time, including a four-point night Feb. 22 against the Abbotsford Heat.
Gragnani, who was recalled by the Canes for the first time, has been on a tear recently as well, tallying points in four of Charlotte’s last five games. He has played in 73 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks.