This conversation took place in the hallway at Kettler Capitals Iceplex along with interpreter Dmitry Chesnokov:
Q: Can you describe your personality?
Semin: “I’d rather not talk about myself, my personality before the playoffs because right now it’s the playoffs and I don’t wanna concentrate on me because we’re entering the playoffs.”
Q: Fans kinda wanna know a little more about you.
Semin: “I’m just an ordinary person just like everybody else. The only difference is I’m out there on the ice and that’s it.”
Q: There was the moment after the game where you picked up William from the Make-A-Wish foundation after the game. What was going through your head there?
Semin: “He was just a kid. Doing something small like that just to make him happy, why not? I like kids and I always like kids because all the kids are our future.”
Q: Playoff success hasn’t been there as much as regular-season success. Do you think about that and does that worry or bother you at all?
Semin: “I wouldn’t say we were very unsuccessful. We did play great; but the luck just wasn’t on our side. Regardless of whether you play in the regular season or the playoffs, that little bit of luck plays a huge part – especially in the playoffs. It wasn’t there for us. This year we’re playing a lot better, we’re playing a lot better defensively, and I think we’re gonna do much, much better this year.
Q: How comfortable do you feel speaking English with teammates?
Semin (understanding and cutting off question): “I have absolutely no problem with that. Everything’s great.”
Q: But not so comfortable talking to us [reporters] in English because we’re distracting?
Semin: “I’ll talk to the media once I feel comfortable that I can express myself. But because if you talk wrong, if you don’t talk dramatically or something, it’s just worth not talking at all.”
Q: How are you feeling, physically, going into the playoffs?
Semin: “You will see everything on Wednesday.”
Q: What do you love about hockey?
Semin: “Just everything. You’re talking to a hockey player. I like the excitement, I like scoring goals, the fans, everything. I’ve been living hockey my entire life, so it’s sorta strange to ask that question because this is my life; this is what I’ve been living.
Q: What do you like away from hockey?
Semin: “I’d just rather talk about hockey.”
Q: Playing with Jason Arnott has seemed to make you play better. What is it about Jason and communicating with him that has made you play better?
Semin: “I haven’t really played with Jason since he came back from injury. The last time I played with him was like a month ago, but when we play together, it’s just great to play with a person like that who can see the ice, who knows what he’s doing. It’s just very interesting to play with players like that who have that kind of vision.”
Q: Did it bother you at all that Jason kinda publicly called you out when he got here, or was that good to hear a veteran come to you and say, this is what you’re doing right, this is what you’re doing wrong?
Semin: “I wouldn’t say he called me out. He just told me some suggestions. He said, ‘Hey, the playoffs are coming, we gotta start keeping pucks in the middle zone, you better not lose it, and when you’re going against one-on-three, don’t do that.’ It was more of a suggestion than a calling out. I never thought of it as being called out – just good advice.”
Q: Who were your role models and guys you watched growing up and tried to model your game after?
Semin: “I never really tried to model my game after anyone else. I’m me, I’m one person and I’m trying to play hockey the way I play hockey. Trying to model your game against someone else, it’s not gonna be very good. Because you play with different partners – that’s what you have to model your game to – different partners.”
Q: Who did you like to watch growing up?
Semin: “Pavel Bure.”
Q: Anybody else?
Semin: “When I was growing up, it was mostly Pavel Bure – and also Sergei Fedorov. When I was young I could never dream that I could play with him on the same line.”
Q: Is it also fun to have Alex [Ovechkin] and Semyon [Varlamov] here in this locker room?
Semin: (laughing) “Of course. Why wouldn’t it be fun? The more Russians, the more fun. If I were just alone, it wouldn’t be the same.”
Q: How much do you think about last year’s playoffs and try as a team to redeem yourselves?
Semin: “I don’t think about it at all. That’s it. Once we lost, I forgot about it. Because look, right now it’s a different year and we have a different team. We approach games differently; we have a different mentality for every game. Thinking about the past is not gonna do any good, so we’re just thinking about the future because everything is different now.”
Q: Alex has talked about it several times how important it is to win the Stanley Cup – how important is winning a Stanley Cup to your career?
Semin: “I’d rather not talk about it, because I’d rather win it first and then talk about it.”