Alexander Semin’s Carolina Hurricanes teammates didn’t take too kindly to Troy Brouwer’s comments Monday questioning the former Washington Capitals winger’s work ethic.
Brouwer said there were nights he wondered if Semin would come to the rink and expressed frustration over Semin’s talent sometimes not being used to its fullest. Carolina captain Eric Staal called Brouwer’s comments “a little unnecessary.”
“Nobody’s ever really said that about me. I’m not really sure how to react to that,” ex-Caps and current Hurricanes defenseman Joe Corvo said. “I would assume that he’d probably get mad and want to prove otherwise. Yeah, probably angry. Betrayed probably? I would feel betrayed if one of my former teammates said something like that about me.
“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.”
Semin signed a one-year deal with the Hurricanes last summer after spending his first seven NHL seasons in Washington. His current teammates raved about the Russian winger’s work ethic, even before they were prompted with his reputation or what Brouwer said.
When asked about Brouwer’s thoughts on Semin, Staal acknowledged that they rubbed him the wrong way.
“I honestly I think it was a little unnecessary,” Staal said. “He 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 of his now and I’ve got nothing but good things to say about him.”
Eric’s brother Jordan Staal, traded to Carolina from the Pittsburgh Penguins in June, didn’t want to take a strong stance about Brouwer’s comments.
“I don’t know. I don’t really wanna talk about it,” Jordan Staal said. “It was whatever. I don’t know. He decided to say that, I don’t know. I don’t know what else to really say.”
Semin has been unwilling to acquiesce to English-only interviews a vast majority of his NHL career. But Corvo said he gets fired up when a teammate is criticized.
“Yeah definitely. I think we want to all help him out and do all we can to make sure that he does well tonight,” Corvo said.
The defenseman who played 18 regular-season and seven playoff games with the Caps said Semin would be motivated to do well against his former team and Brouwer’s comments “probably only fuel that” desire.
Coach Kirk Muller isn’t concerned about Semin containing his emotions Tuesday night.
“I don’t think it’s his nature,” Muller said. “I guess being an ex-player, you know what it’s like to be traded and all you want to do is move on. It’s interesting how quickly you can just kind of cut the cord, get new teammates and new friends with a new organization and I think that’s all he wants- he’s happy here and it looks like he’s enjoying it.
“I think he just more wants to come back and have a big game which is natural and have a big a big game for our guys because it’s actually a big game for our team.”